x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Wahda find comforts on home front

Al Wahda return to the Pro League and preserve their lead at the top of the table with 3-0 demolition of Al Dhafra.

ABU DHABI // Having already given up hopes of progressing through the Asian Champions League after two defeats in two games, Al Wahda return to the Pro League and preserve their lead at the top of the table with 3-0 demolition of Al Dhafra. The Brazilian Pinga broke the deadlock with a stunning 30-yard rocket on the stroke of half-time, and Basher Saeed and Saeed al Kathiri added to the score in the second half at the Al Nahyan Stadium. The margin of victory could have been more had the Brazilian striker Fernando Baiano's effort did not crash against the frame twice. The first was a tap in from six yards and the other off a free kick from 25 yards. The result took Wahda's tally to 40 points, four more than Al Jazira, who face Emirate tonight at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium. "Every game has become crucial for us, whether it be in the Pro League or ACL," said the captain Haider Ali. "Of course we will concentrate more on the domestic league where we are in the lead and have a better chance of winning." The Pro League winners of this season will earn qualification for the Fifa Club World Cup as the host nation in Abu Dhabi on December. "That's a bigger incentive to win the Pro League," added Ali. "We would like to play in the Club World Cup but we haven't given up hopes in the ACL altogether. We lost both games, which have made our task more difficult, but we still have four games. So fingers crossed on that." Wahda went down 1-0 away to Zobahan of Iran and 2-1 at home to the Uzbek club Bunyodkor in the Group B. They face last year's finalist Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia next on March 24. In the other matches, Ajman's Ivorian forward Boris Kabi fired a late equalizer for his side in a 1-1 draw against Baniyas, who remain fourth on 28 points and Ajman at the bottom on five. The Senegalese Andre Senghor put the visitors ahead in the 40th minute and Kabi canceled it seven minutes from time. Al Wasl and Al Nasr played out a scoreless draw. apassela@thenational.ae