x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Nasr 1 Al Wasl 0

Bruno Correa scored for Al Nasr in their 1-0 win as Al Wasl continues to struggle.

Al Nasr, in blue, was too much for Al Wasl, in yellow, during a Pro League tilt on Saturday.
Al Nasr, in blue, was too much for Al Wasl, in yellow, during a Pro League tilt on Saturday.

Dubai // Judging by the display, Al Wasl will have coaxed plenty of resentment last night from fledgling Fantasy Football managers.

The Pro League initiative, launched last month ahead of the season's resumption, has attracted a wealth of would-be coaches, yet it would not take Sir Alex Ferguson to realise the Zabeel Stadium at present offers little in the way of bargain buys.

On the whole, though, bonus points where at a premium throughout this Dubai derby, although it was Al Nasr who left with three of their own, Bruno Correa's bundling home of a first-half corner enough to ensure the visitors remain fifth in the table.

Wasl, with only two victories in 10 league matches, stay eighth; if not already, their campaign is fast becoming a write-off.

"It's the first time as a coach I've faced these circumstances," said Guy Lacombe, the Wasl tactician, who argued it was his side that deserved the win.

"We're really suffering from losing our important players to injuries, but we have some technical points to work on with the players, and to help build the chemistry with the new signings.

"We can only do this on the training pitch.

"We shouldn't have lost. We played well and I'm surprised we did not win the game.

"For me, the only negative was the result. We just need more confidence."

Lacombe could perhaps be allowed to extract encouragement, however scant, from Wasl's second half performance.

The club have been shorn of their two most potent attacking forces - Mariano Donda and Shikabala - but in their places here were Achille Emana and Mohammed Nasser, both added to the squad only last week.

Emana, a loan signing from Al Ahli, at least provided the hosts with some energy, as the Cameroonian passed and probed for much of the final 45 minutes.

If only Emiliano Alfaro, the Italian striker, could find the scoring boots he wore so expertly during the first few weeks of the season.

As for Nasr, who had Sven-Goran Eriksson, their freshly appointed technical adviser, watching from the stands, the result was probably justified if dealing in the currency of clear-cut chances.

Giuseppe Mascara had a free kick that sent Rashid Ali sprawling across the Wasl goal, the home goalkeeper then saved sharply from Takayuki Morimoto, the recent signing from Italy's Catania, and Correa struck the angle from just inside the penalty area.

The Brazilian did notch the decisive blow, on the half-hour glancing home a Mascara corner.

It did seem to take a deflection on route to goal, though - one for those Fantasy managers to debate.

Not that it seemed to bother Nasr's real-life coach one bit.

"Everyone has his own opinion and I respect that of the opposition manager, but I believe we deserved to get a result in what is the most important derby match in Dubai," said Walter Zenga before repelling the predictable questions about an unexpected title charge.

"Now we are concentrating only on each match we play," he added. "And focusing purely on getting the win."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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