Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Al Nasrís Helal Saeed, right, takes the ball from Al Ahliís Ismael Al Hamadi.
Al Nasrís Helal Saeed, right, takes the ball from Al Ahliís Ismael Al Hamadi.

Quique Sanchez Flores finds no defence for Al Ahli at Al Nasr

The Spaniard finds his defence breached four times by Walter Zenga's men.

DUBAI // If the standard of football in last night's Dubai derby in the Pro League was anywhere near commensurate with the quality of clientele beyond the sidelines, then it really should have been the only show in town.

In the home dugout was Walter Zenga, formerly the custodian for Italy's national team, while opposing him was Quique Sanchez Flores, latterly of Atletico Madrid and once a player for their more celebrated city rivals, Real.

Watching on from the stands were Fabio Cannavaro and Roy Aitken, all 193 international caps worth of knowledge between them.

Football people of great standing they all may be.

However, while they can take the Arabian thoroughbreds who are now under their supervision to water, the imported stars still cannot force them to drink, apparently.

Each of these sides came into this game in the lower reaches of the UAE's top league.

On this evidence, Nasr can be optimistic of climbing the ladder, while Ahli are no nearer to finding answers.

Sanchez Flores, Ahli's manager, acknowledged he knew nothing of the standard of football in this country before he arrived in an emergency earlier this month.

Judging by his first two matches, both lost against the same opposition, he will probably be looking for an advance on his return ticket back to Spain.

The opening goal, scored by Careca, the Nasr striker, was a lone highlight amid the desolate first-half fare.

He met an appetising Mark Bresciano free kick with a powerful header into the corner.

Sanchez Flores, a former defender of repute in Europe, will have cringed at the second goal, which Khalid Mohammed, the centre-back, and Yousef Abdullah, the Ahli goalkeeper, contrived to gift Nasr.

Humaid Abdullah Abbas will never score an easier one.

Nothing went right for the away side. It reached a nadir at the end of the first half when Ismael Al Hammadi, their best attacking threat for most of the game, made to return possession to Nasr after an injury stoppage, by kicking the ball into touch five yards away. He missed.

Yunus Ahmed Abdullah, a second-half substitute for Nasr, profited from more supine Ahli defending with their third goal after the break.

Bresciano was granted due reward for his midfield industry, alongside Leonardo Lima, when he scored the fourth.

Despite his side's dominance, Zenga, was inexplicably uptight, and was sent off for his part in a late melee.

By rights, it should have been Sanchez Flores who succumbed to anger over his side's display.

However, with the points gone, all he could muster was a phlegmatic shrug which seemed to say, "How am I going to handle six more months of this?"

pradley@thenational.ae

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.

 Alex Kacaniklic, left, of Fulham tackles Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur during their Premier League match at White Hart Lane on April 19, 2014, in London, England. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Tottenham keep pace in chase for European places with victory over Fulham

Swansea appear to be safe after rallying past Newcastle while Crystal Palace continue their winning streak

 On a track described as a ‘tyre-killer’ in Shanghai, Lewis Hamilton went untested on his way to a 34th pole – the most by a British driver – yesterday. Carlos Barria / Reuters

Hamilton has sympathy for fans hung out to dry with wet tyre rules

The Briton takes his career's 34th pole - the most by a British driver - but sympathises it was not ideal for the ticket-paying public.

 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.

 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.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National