x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Al Nasr open up a gap over Al Wahda in the Pro League table

Leonardo Lima's last gasp winner lifts Al Nasr over Al Wahda and solidifies their standing in the Pro League table, writes Amith Passela.

Mahmoud Darwish of Al Nasr tries to halt Al Wahda’s Marcelo Oliveira as he closes on goalkeeper Ahmed Shambieh.
Mahmoud Darwish of Al Nasr tries to halt Al Wahda’s Marcelo Oliveira as he closes on goalkeeper Ahmed Shambieh.

Al Wahda 0 Al Nasr 1

Al Nasr Lima 90’+2

ABU DHABI // Leonardo Lima scored an added-time winner as Al Nasr consolidated their position in the upper half of the Pro League table with a 1-0 victory Sunday night over Al Wahda.

Habib Fardan had picked up a poor clearance from Dino Djulbic, Wahda's Australian centre-back, and scooted inside the box before slipping it towards Humaid Abbas, who, when challenged, found Lima in support.

The Brazilian wriggled past a couple of defenders and tapped the ball expertly past Adel Al Hosani, the Wahda goalkeeper.

Walter Zenga, the Nasr coach, praised the concentration of his players and said it was the key to the victory.

"In my opinion my players did a great job because it was not easy," he said. "They had to play five games in two weeks, two Asian Champions League games and then Baniyas, Al Jazira and now Wahda in the Pro League.

"The players did an excellent job and need to be congratulated. They showed real character to keep their focus and concentration on the game. They never gave up until the final whistle and were rewarded at the end."

Nasr played the waiting game and were rewarded when Wahda ran out of patience towards the end of the 90 minutes at the Al Nahyan Stadium.

"It is very frustrating when you dominate a major period of the game and to lose in the added time at the end," said Branko Ivankovic, the Wahda coach.

"We had a lot of scoring opportunities but couldn't score. And at the end the pressure got the better of the players and they made a mistake that cost us dearly at the end."

The first half ended without much incident, although Wahda were the more creative and pushing hard for the lead. Yet they could not break the solid defence of the visitors.

Papa Waigo failed to latch on to a cross from Khalid Jalal and Marcelo Oliveira could not control a low long pass from Essa Ahmed, both inside the area.

They also wasted quite a few opportunities with some flowing moves breaking down either due to a poor finish or losing possession.

Nasr relied on the counter-attack and they came close to taking the lead twice in the first period.

Takayuki Morimoto's rocket from inside the area breezed over the crossbar and Bruno Cesar's header off a cross from Ahmed also sailed over the bar.

They had an opportunity to take the lead early in the second half but Ahmed's effort from close range was smothered by the charging Al Hosani.

Nasr had another scoring opportunity when Al Hosani badly misjudged a ball but Fardan's effort from the near post went across an empty goal.

Wahda probably could have settled for a tie, but their persistent attacking led to the fateful moment when Nasr counter-attacked with numbers and scored the only goal.

Man of the match Leonardo Lima (Al Nasr)





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