Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Saeed Al Kathiri, in white, was the hero of the night by scoring twice for Al Wahda against Al Nasr tonight. The Al Nasr players came in for criticism from their coach Walter Zenga for not fighting hard enough. Christopher Pike / The National
Saeed Al Kathiri, in white, was the hero of the night by scoring twice for Al Wahda against Al Nasr tonight. The Al Nasr players came in for criticism from their coach Walter Zenga for not fighting hard enough. Christopher Pike / The National

Etisalat Cup: Walter Zenga criticises attitude of Al Nasr players

Al Wahda beat the Dubai side 3-0 in a Etisalat Cup game - but it was the lack of willingness to put up a fight that attracted wrath of the Italian coach.

DUBAI // Given Walter Zenga, the Al Nasr coach, has recently found himself in hot water regarding comments made last season to a journalist, it was perhaps no surprise to find him conducting tonight's news conference in his native Italian.

The former Azzurri international often displays a fine command of English, but he opted to make use of a nearby translator at the Zabeel Stadium to criticise his side for their undisciplined Etisalat Cup defeat to Al Wahda.

Nasr were largely outplayed by their Abu Dhabi rivals, whose preparations were interrupted when Branko Ivankovic, their coach, had to return to Croatia after the death of his mother.

A brace from Saeed Al Kathiri supplemented Salem Saleh's first-half strike to provide some relief and consigned Nasr, who also had their captain Mahmoud Darwish sent off on 40 minutes, to an unsatisfactory start to their 2012/13 campaign.

"I'm upset as we lose a bit of the confidence we have built during the past few weeks of pre-season," Zenga said.

"I didn't like the reaction of my team, when the players did not fight on the pitch. A team can lose 3-0 but when you don't fight until the end it is not acceptable.

"My players need to realise football is not just a job. But the first person to inject this into them is the coach himself. When I said I'm not happy, I have still been working hard on the training pitch for the past 15 days and am confident we will improve."

Of the red card Darwish received for a lunge on Srdnan Andric, Zenga added: "There was no need for that sort of tackle. There was no danger and that just increased the pressure on us."

For Andrej Panadic, Wahda's assistant coach, the win represented a triumph in adversity. The Croatian revealed his young side were shaken by news of Ivankovic's mother, although they quickly resolved to gain three points in her memory.

"We had a very tough game but also a tough morning," Panadic said. "We promised Branko we would fight for him and his family and our players did that.

"We must be confident now with this first game. We show people in the Emirates that we are a very serious team."

Elsewhere, Baniyas beat Pro League new boys Al Dhafra 2-1, Mohamed Zidane scoring five minutes into his debut before providing an assist for Andre Senghor to nod home.

Dhafra pulled a goal back with a penalty from Hamad Raqea, after Baniyas had been reduced to 10 men following Amer Abdulrahman's second bookable offence.

Dibba Al Fujairah were also given a taste of what to expect this season, last season's second-placed Division One side were beaten 6-1 at Ajman as striker Founeke Sy struck four goals.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Ahli's Ismail Al Hammadi, left, battles for the ball during the Arabian Gulf Cup final between against Al Jazira at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on April 19, 2014. Al Hammadi hit the game-winner in the 81st minute for Ahli. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli maintain course for domestic treble with victory over Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup

Al Ahli maintained their hopes of a domestic treble with a superb comeback victory against Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Saturday night.

 Yuzvendra Chahal, centre, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates celebrate after the bowlers set up an easy win over Mumbai Indians. Pawan Singh / The National

Bowlers set up Bangalore as Patel stand tall over Mumbai

Mumbai bowlers gave early hope but Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers' unbeaten stand of 99 ensures second defeat for the men in blue in Dubai.

 Roelof Kotzee is leading UAE to unchartered territory. Sarah Dea / The National

UAE step into the unknown ahead of Asian Five Nations

Performance manager Roelof Kotze will give 12 players their first experience of international rugby, but there is also minimal information on Singapore ahead of first Test in Dubai on Wednesday, reports Paul Radley.

 Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City have the ability to bounce back from recent defeats to win the Premier League title. Andrew Yates / AFP

Pellegrini certain Manchester City will take title race down to wire

As his side host West Brom in a must-win match, the manager is banking on other teams dropping points in the last few weeks of the Premier League title race.

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia winces in pain during his semi-final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 19, 2014. Federer prevailed to set up an all-Swiss final with Stanislas Wawrinka. SEBASTIEN NOGIER / EPA

Ailing Djokovic will ‘just rest now’ while Nadal not pressing the panic button

Djokovic says only rest will help is injured right wrist after he falls to Roger Federer on Saturday, and Nadal suffers just his third career defeat in Monte Carlo when he slumped to a shock 7-6, 6-4 quarter-final loss to compatriot Ferrer on Friday.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National