Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Ahmed Ibrahim of Al Wasl, left, sets to defend his space from Saleh Hamad of Baniyas.
Ahmed Ibrahim of Al Wasl, left, sets to defend his space from Saleh Hamad of Baniyas.

Pro League: Hot finish of season more about weather than Wasl-Baniyas

On a steamy night in Dubai, Baniyas get the better of Al Wasl thanks to a goal off a penalty strike by Nawaf Mubarak to close out the Pro League season.

AL WASL 0

BANIYAS 1

Baniyas Mubarak 63' (pen)

Man of the Match Mohamed Naser (Al Wasl)

DUBAI // And so the sun sets on yet another Pro League campaign.

Fittingly, it had saved its baking best for the final match of the season, scorching the Zabeel Stadium on what was surely the hottest evening of 2013 thus far.

While it extracted the worst from the pores of the spectators who had bothered to witness Al Wasl's twice-rearranged encounter with Baniyas, spare a thought for its protagonists, who laboured and lurched throughout a languid 90 minutes.

At times they appeared to be treading treacle.

Presumably, it was difficult to mine already depleted reservoirs of energy, for a number of reasons.

It has been a long nine months for both sets of players - Wasl have struggled through four different managers, while Baniyas added the Gulf Clubs Championship to their schedule - and this particular clash had nothing but mooted bragging rights riding on it.

The players could be forgiven for wandering minds, perhaps distracted by dreams of impending end-of-season jaunts to somewhere nice and chilly.

It was Eid Baroot's final game in charge of the home side, Wasl preparing for the now-traditional summer of transition, Laurent Banide waiting to officially assume his role as manager.

The former Al Dhafra coach was in the stands here, running his eye over inherited resources. He would not have found too much to raise hopes.

All three of the foreign players on display will not figure in his revolution, as Ahmed Ibrahim, Emiliano Alfaro and Jussie get set to return to their respective parent clubs. Achille Emana, the January loanee from Al Ahli, has already departed.

Signs of encouragement, though, were provided by Mohammed Naser, the Emirati striker, and Saoud Saeed, his young compatriot in defence, who launched his body to clear the ball off the line early in a disjointed second half.

Saeed could do nothing about the eventual winner, however, when shortly after the hour Jussie tangled with Saleh Hamad on the edge of the penalty area.

The Baniyas winger delayed his fall until he entered the box, and the referee belatedly pointed to the spot. Nawaf Mubarak, the visiting captain, coolly dispatched from 12 yards.

"I congratulate the administration and the players, but a special thank you to Al Wasl supporters," Baroot said, noting "thank you" messages from fans. "I was very happy to see the banners all over the stadium. I've felt the help and support from them since I joined."

When asked if he leaves the club in a healthier position than when he arrived in February, Baroot added: "Yes, I spoke very clearly with the previous committee when I joined, saying the target was 30 points and that we'd win the matches to leave us in a comfortable position.

"And that's what happened."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 F1 driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing is fifth in the Formula One drivers' standings, 46 points behind leader Nico Rosberg. Diego Azubel / EPA / April 20, 2014

Nothing Vettel can do about car, but Ricciardo’s superiority should be worrying

It isn't Sebastian Vettel's fault his Renault-powered Red Bull Racing car is so inferior to the Mercedes, writes Graham Caygill, but he isn't proving much by being outpaced by teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

 Paul Pierce and the Nets own a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against Toronto. Warren Toda / EPA

‘Dinosaur’ Brooklyn Nets roaming ominously in NBA play-offs

Brooklyn's veterans found their form toward the end of the season and now pose a threat in the East, writes Jonathan Raymond.

 The Eastern Conference play-offs have provided the bigger shocks so far, such as Jeff Teague, left, and the Atlanta Hawks win over the Indiana Pacers. Steve C Mitchell / EPA

In the NBA play-offs, better play finally rises in East

It took six months and 82 games but, finally, the Eastern Conference has become interesting.

 Stanislas Wawrinka lifts the Monte Carlo Masters trophy after his triumph over Roger Federer on Sunday. Claude Paris / AP / April 20, 2014

Wawrinka on the rise after topping Federer for Monte Carlo Masters title

The Australian Open champion suggested he is not just a one-major wonder as he bounced back to beat Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday for his first Masters title.

 Roger Federer seemed to wear down during his Monte Carlo Masters loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the final on April 20, 2014. Wawrinka won 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. Michael Euler / AP Photo

Federer sees positives but one negative remains

There is plenty to cheer about for Roger Federer fans, but there could be one worrying indication.

 Diego Simeone has used Atletico Madrid supporters to his player’ advantage.

Neutrals’ favourites Atletico Madrid start as underdogs against Chelsea

It has been 18 seasons since they won the Primera Liga title but 40 years since reaching the Champions League final, but they dare to dream, writes Ian Hawkey.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National