Al Wasl 1
Al Shabab 3
Al Wasl: Hadeed 36’
Al Shabab: Villaneuva (pen) 63’, Azizbek 88’, 90’
Red card: Edgar Bruno (Shabab)
Man of the match: Carlos Villanueva
DUBAI // Haydarov Azizbek thrilled his voluble UAE-based Uzbek cheer squad with a late double strike to settle an ill-tempered Dubai derby 3-1 in the favour of Al Shabab.
The fact Arabian Gulf League matches are continuing to run while the Under 17 World Cup is ongoing is not an entirely bad thing, on this evidence.
Laurent Banide, the Al Wasl coach, expressed his doubts over the fixture clashes in the lead up to this game, suggesting the football-supporting public might be spread too thin. There are some benefits, though. The UAE’s clubs have picked up some random, presumably temporary, fans.
For example, there were a raft of supporters beating a drum and waving Uzbek flags at Zabeel Stadium - in support of Al Shabab, naturally.
One of the most influential players for the team in green is Azizbek, an Uzbek midfielder who is a hero in his homeland.
They made a good noise throughout. Yet they had to wait until two minutes from the end for something to genuinely cheer about, when Azizbek latched on to a brilliant through-ball by Carlos Villanueva to net the winner. He then doubled his tally to give the away side all three points at Zabeel Stadium.
Al Wasl had gone ahead when Fahad Hadeed jinked inside his full back and fired a low drive from the edge of the box past Ismail Rabee Juma.
It was a virtually identical strike to the one the stocky right-winger had scored against Al Jazira earlier in the campaign.
But the match only really sprung to life as the hour mark approached, and it all centred around Shabab’s Brazilian striker, Edgar Bruno.
Shortly after he struck the crossbar with a towering header from the edge of the box, Bruno was shown red after sparking a melee in the Wasl goalmouth. The precise reason he was sent off was unclear, but only because the referee had such a broad choice of options.
In trying to score from close range, the striker appeared to connect with the face of Ahmed Mahmoud, the Wasl goalkeeper, twice. The second one drew blood from his lip. As his teammates ran to defend the keeper, Bruno swung an arm in the direction of Abdelfattah Boukhriss, the centre-back, before squaring up to Mariano Donda, the home captain.
He will be lucky if he is spared a lengthy ban. He had already escaped red in the first half for kicking the ball in the vague direction of a linesman when a decision went against him.
And yet all the furore did was embolden the side who were short-handed because of it. Within a minute of play resuming, Shabab had a penalty from which Villanueva shot his side level.