x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Al Wahda 0 Al Jazira 2

Victory in the Abu Dhabi derby puts visitors in second place in the UAE Pro League table.

Fernandinho, centre, nearly scored for Al Jazira against Al Wahda in their capital derby in Abu Dhabi tonight. Mike Young / The National
Fernandinho, centre, nearly scored for Al Jazira against Al Wahda in their capital derby in Abu Dhabi tonight. Mike Young / The National

ABU DHABI // Ibrahim Diaky and Ali Mabkhout struck early in each half for Al Jazira to take the bragging rights in the capital derby to move second in the Pro League table.

Diaky's volley from Abdulla Mousa's dipping cross bounced and hit the roof of the net to open the scoring. And Mabkhout sealed the points with a tap in after Fernandinho's effort was stopped by Adel Al Hosani, the Wahda keeper, tonight at the Al Nahyan Stadium.

The win took Jazira's tally to 27 points, four behind the leaders Al Ain, who play Al Nasr tonight.

"More than the derby match the result was the most important for us in this game because now we are in a strong position when the second half of the league begins," Mabkhout said at a post-match television interview.

Although Jazira scored first, it was Wahda who had more opportunities in the first half.

They pressed hard after the visitors had gone one up.

Khaled Essa, the Jazira keeper filling in for the injured Ali Kasheif, did well to block a low shot from Saeed Al Kathiri, not cleanly but enough to prevent any damage.

Mohammed Al Shehhi's effort was stopped by a Jazira defender and a second attempt from Papa Waigo had the same outcome after Tawfeeq Abdulrazaq took play inside the box and slipped in a pass towards his forwards.

At the other end, Eisa Ahmed, the Wahda centre-back, saved a certain goal when he cleared the Argentine midfielder Matias Delgado's effort from eight yards off the goal line.

Al Kathiri had a golden opportunity to level the scores but a weak effort gave Essa enough time to push the ball out with his fingertips. The Jazira goalkeeper was called up again to push a close range volley from Waigo, who was also off target with a header.

Jazira received double injury blow as the game approached half time. Mousa was replaced by Salem Ali 10 minutes before the break and Diaky was substituted for Abdulla Qasem a few minutes later.

Branko Ivankovic, the Wahda coach, strengthened his attack in the second half by bringing on the Brazilian forward Marcelo Oliveira for Khalid Jalal, but a second goal early in that period only made the task even harder.

The pressure was on Wahda and they continued to miss the target with Oliveira profligate in front of an open goal and Al Kathiri wasted a couple of chances with meek shots straight at Essa.

With a two-goal cushion, Jazira got more organised. They had the Wahda forwards closely marked and could have added a third had Hamdan Al Kamali, the Wahda defender, failed to clear Ali Salem's close-range shot.

It was Wahda's fourth defeat in the last five games and they now drop two points behind Al Shabab to seventh in the league table.

apassela@thenational.ae

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