x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Wasl crash to another defeat

The 2007 League and President's Cup champions crash 2-0 at home to Al Ahli, their third loss in five games.

Alexander Olivira of Al Wasl, right in yellow, in action against an unidentified Al Ahli player during the UAE Pro League football tournament at Zabeel stadium.
Alexander Olivira of Al Wasl, right in yellow, in action against an unidentified Al Ahli player during the UAE Pro League football tournament at Zabeel stadium.

Al Wasl's woes show no signs of abating. The 2007 League and President's Cup champions crashed to their third defeat in five games of the etisalat UAE Football League, listless as they went down 2-0 at home to Al Ahli. The hosts lacked tact and inspiration, and there was little to suggest their season is going to get any better. There were no signs of light at the end of the tunnel and darker days lie ahead for the seven-time league champions.

The Al Wasl fans, who had boycotted the team's last UFL game in protest at the poor performance of their side, had assembled in large numbers for this "Dubai derby". But they trooped towards the exit mid- way through the second half, knowing Wasl's fate had been sealed after a goal apiece by Jader Volnei Spindler "Bare" and Milad Meydavoudi. Ahli were clearly the better side and made a determined start, dictating the pace and keeping possession. By the 15th minute of the game, the visitors had made more than a dozen raids at the Wasl goal and the referee Mohammed Omar had already dished out three yellow cards: to Obaid Khalifa and Ismail al Hammadi of Ahli and Tareq Hassan from Wasl.

Ahli were in absolute control and they got their deserved reward when Bare found the net in the 28th minute. Adel Abdulaziz did most of the work for the goal, darting down the left before releasing for Hosny Abd Rabo at the top of the box. The Egyptian player relayed the ball for Bare, who drilled in a low right-footer to the left of Majed Naser. Stung by the reversal, the Wasl coach Jurcic Srecko pulled Yousuf Hassan out in the 36th minute to send in Khalid Darwish. The hosts looked like a different side almost immediately as the diminutive mid-fielder took charge along with the Iranian Iman Mobali, who tested the Ahli keeper Obaid al Tawelah with a stining right-footer from almost 30 yards in the 42nd minute.

Returning from the break, the hosts started their search for the equaliser in earnest, Meydavoudi's second for Ahli broke their back. The Iranian turned around after receiving a cross from Ismail al Hammadi and volleyed past Naser. Al Wasl had a great chance of reducing the deficit and coming back into the game when Adel Abdulaziz dragged Zikagory down in the 61st minute and the referee awarded a penalty. But Issa Ali shot over from the spot and sank to his knees in disbelief, clutching his head. arizvi@thenational.ae