x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Al Ittihad dash Wahda's hopes

A 2-0 defeat keeps the club rooted at the bottom of their Asian Champions League group with three straight losses at the halfway point.

Al Ittihad players celebrate their 2-0 Asian Champions League victory over Al Wahda last night. The loss was Wahda's third in three matches in Group B.
Al Ittihad players celebrate their 2-0 Asian Champions League victory over Al Wahda last night. The loss was Wahda's third in three matches in Group B.

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda's hopes of progressing beyond the group stage of the Asian Champions League appears to be all but over after a third straight defeat. They remain rooted to the bottom in Group B at the half-way point after going down to Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia 2-0 at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Wednesday. Abdelmalik Ziaya headed the visitors into the lead in the 16th minute. The Algerian striker timed his run to perfection to connect powerfully to the back of the net off a dipping right cross from the Saudi international Mohammed Nour. Nour doubled the lead two minutes into added time after the home side failed to break the visitors defence despite enjoying both, possession and territory for the major period of the second half. Having taken the lead, they were more intent in preserving the lead. Wahda stepped raised their game in the second half to create quite a few scoring opportunities, but almost all of them either broke down due to poor finish or were off target.

The Brazilian Fernando Baiano had the Ittihad stopper drawn out but his shot towards the empty goal was cleared by the retreating Saudi defender Redha Tukar. Tukar also came in-between to a shot at goal from Ismail Matar 10 minutes from time. Matar, Mohammed al Shehhi and the substitute Saeed al Kathiri, all had a flurry of chances but their efforts were wither wide or fell short to get past the gritty Ittihad defence. Zobahan of Iran raced to the top of the points standing after a stunning 3-0 home triumph over the visiting Uzbek side Bunyodkar in the other game. Luiz Felipe Scolari's side dropped to second place on six, and two behind them are now Ittihad, who will try to double that tally when they face Wahda in the second leg on March 30. apassela@thenational.ae