x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Al Ittihad draw feels like a loss to Baniyas coach Calderon

The Argentine says his side must now win their next two Group B games to stand a chance of making the next round of the Asian Champions League.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - April 17, 2012 - Baniyas' Mohamed Jabeer races against Al Ittihad's Naif Hazazi for control of the ball during game action between Baniyas and Al Ittihad on Tuesday, April 17, 2012. ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - April 17, 2012 - Baniyas' Mohamed Jabeer races against Al Ittihad's Naif Hazazi for control of the ball during game action between Baniyas and Al Ittihad on Tuesday, April 17, 2012. ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )

ABU DHABI // Baniyas and Al Ittihad collaborated on an Asian Champions League match so dreary that many of the 6,265 in the stands will best remember the event for the 81st-minute pitch invasion by a sheepish little boy who somehow found himself behind the home team's goal.

He seemed more lost than naughty, but nonetheless he was led away by police.

The home side, meanwhile, could perhaps find consolation last night from taking one point off the Group B leaders from Saudi Arabia, twice the champions of the continental tournament.

If they win twice next month, away to Al Arabi of Qatar and home to Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan, Baniyas will finish second in the group and reach the knockout stage of the tournament in their first attempt.

Gabriel Calderon, the Baniyas coach, was not in a celebratory mood however.

"I feel like it's a loss because it's in my stadium, and we play here and need to win," the Argentine said. "Now we need to win the next two."

He seemed to be conserving his team's strength for the President's Cup final against Al Jazira on Monday.

The stalwarts Amer Abdulrahman, Haboush Saleh and Yousif Jabar did not enter until the second half, and the Algerian international Ismail Bouzid never left the bench.

Fawzi Basheer, the Omani, was given the night off with a minor injury.

Scoring opportunities were scarce, and each side could be said to have had only one opportunity better than a half-chance, and Baniyas' was a misfired header by Fawaz Awana in the 78th minute.

Calderon gave credit to Ittihad, who finished sixth in the recently completed Saudi league season.

"Ittihad is a big team, more experienced than we are," he said. "That's why they won their home game against us and got one point here. They are a strong team."

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