x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Al Shaab 5 Dibba Al Fujairah 3

Eight goals, a glut of gilt-edged chances and two frustrated managers.

Al Shaab players celebrate a goal against Dibba Al Fujairah. Al Itihad
Al Shaab players celebrate a goal against Dibba Al Fujairah. Al Itihad

SHARJAH // Eight goals, a glut of gilt-edged chances and two frustrated managers. That is probably the best, or only, way to appraise a whirlwind evening at the Sharjah Stadium played out betweenAl Shaab and Dibba Al Fujairah last night.

By the time the newly promoted sides met shortly before dusk, the Pro League season had produced 64 goals from 17 games - Shaab and Dibba seemed determined to match that themselves in a madcap 90 minutes.

With the contest somehow remaining 0-0 until the 22nd minute, Abdul Razak Al Hussain's goal for the visitors quickly brought another three. Shaab, particularly Rodrigo Souza Silva and Rodrigo Vergilio, made the most of suspect defending to go in at half time 3-1 up; Nasser Khamis having also found the net for the hosts.

Vergilio scored his fifth goal in three Pro League games shortly after the break, with Silva then seemingly guaranteeing a comfortable victory with 20 minutes remaining.

However, Dibba decided to offer the encounter a fitting sign-off, Najem Ahmed finishing from close range in injury time before leaving enough room for Mohammed Alantaly to squeeze in yet more consolation.

The 5-3 result provided Shaab with a second win of the season, but Sergio Alexandre, their coach, admitted afterwards that, despite three "very important" points, his side can expect a few extra running drills this week.

"Sometimes I like to joke, so I'll need to take my defence by the ear and say 'come here, son'," he said. "Because they made easy mistakes in the last match and then repeated them here.

"For sure, during the week our players need to work harder for the next game, although we've spoken about this before. It should be impossible to be winning 5-1 and then concede two goals, but we just stopped concentrating.

"You cannot lose focus because you then take a big risk. We must care about this because we're playing in a strong, strong championship where we cannot make mistakes like in these two games.You must be prepared for every situation in football; that comes only from good preparation."

For his opposite number, Rene Marsiglia, three matches so far in their inaugural Pro League campaign may have failed to yield a victory, yet he, unlike his blundering back line, is not prepared to start panicking just yet.

"We were one goal ahead and then lost our heads for a couple of minutes," he said. "Individual mistakes make it very difficult, and my players didn't fight or show personality.

"But they started well so we must work on keeping that attitude. We have another 23 games and it is important to focus on that. I believe in my team and that we can stay in the league. If I didn't I'd rip up my contract."


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