x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Al Ahli's Sanchez Flores 'stunned' after shove from Al Wasl goalkeeper

Majed Naser apologises after Al Wasl suspend the UAE international goalkeeper indefinitely following post-match altercation with Al Ahli's coach.

Majed Nasser, right, the Al Wasl goalkeeper, is confronted by Al Ahli players after he had shoved their manager, Quique Sanchez Flores, third left..
Majed Nasser, right, the Al Wasl goalkeeper, is confronted by Al Ahli players after he had shoved their manager, Quique Sanchez Flores, third left..

DUBAI // Quique Sanchez Flores, the Al Ahli coach, insists the wild behaviour of Majed Naser, the Al Wasl and UAE national team goalkeeper, after last night's Etisalat Cup semi-final is an embarrassment for football in the region.

Naser, who has a chequered disciplinary record, was suspended indefinitely by his club in the aftermath of an ugly melee after the final whistle at the Rashed Stadium.

The goalkeeper shoved Ahli's mild-mannered Spanish coach in the head as he embraced his players following a 1-0 victory which secured a place in the final against their nearest neighbours, Al Shabab.

Sanchez Flores was facing the other way, and had not seen the goalkeeper approach him.

Naser was quickly ushered away from the scene by Diego Maradona, his team's manager, who was acting as a peacemaker.

However, the Ahli players were quick to try to defend their manager, and the goalkeeper was pursued towards the tunnel, most notably his incensed national team colleague, Faisal Khalil, who scored the decisive goal for Ahli.

Wasl club officials acted swiftly, announcing the suspension of a player who has had to apologise to his teammates once already this season for his erratic actions.

The club released a statement quoting Naser as saying: "I offer my apologies to the President of Al Wasl Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum and Vice President Sheikh Majed for my behaviour. I would also like to sincerely apologise to all Al Wasl fans."

Wasl also claimed the goalkeeper had sought out Sanchez Flores to say sorry, and that the Spaniard had accepted the apology.

However, the Ahli manager still condemned the UAE international keeper, who earlier had been booked in the first half of the game for persistent offending.

"I didn't see it, but it felt like a camera was pushing my head," Sanchez Flores, the former Atletico Madrid coach, said.

"Then I saw that it was the goalkeeper, and I did not know the reason because I didn't do anything to incite a push.

"I think this is bad for football in general, very bad for Arabian football in particular, and I hope there will be a fine for this player."

Sanchez Flores said his mobile telephone had been inundated with calls from his homeland inquiring about his altercation with a "crazy" goalkeeper.

"I didn't deserve this," Flores said. "I have never done anything in my life to receive a push. I am fine, but I don't like it.

"I have messages on my phone from people in Spain asking what happened, what happened in Arabian football, is the goalkeeper crazy? It is a strange situation."

pradley@thenational.ae

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