Fernando Baiano fires his team to victory over Al Nasr, while Al Ahli moved to within a point of top spot as they cruised past basement side Dubai.
Baiano doubles up for Wahda
Al Wahda 2 // Al Nasr 1
Al Wahda Baiano 33’, 58’
Man of the match Ismail Matar (Al Wahda)
ABU DHABI // Fernando Baiano demonstrated that he has not lost his taste for goals as he fired Al Wahda to victory over Al Nasr last night with two goals.
The Brazilian was on target in each half to take his tally for the season and put his slow start to the season well and truly behind him.
He had been on the receiving end of criticism from Tite, the Wahda coach, after looking sluggish in the opening games, but four goals in the last two games show he is close to being back to the form that saw him score 28 goals in all competitions for the Pro League champions last season.
He broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when he chipped home from close range after being put through by strike partner Ismail Matar, and he doubled the lead just short of the hour mark when he headed home a looping cross from compatriot Hugo for his fifth league goal of the season.
Baiano almost capped his night with a hat-trick, but his effort from just inside the top-edge box hit the palm of the diving Abdulla Moosa, the goalkeeper, and crashed against the far post.
The visitors could have been in the game had not been for a brave effort from Yaqoub al Hosani, who made a superb goal-line clearance, to prevent Nasr from cancelling Wahda's first half lead four minutes on resumption.
The Wahda defender raced after the ball before hooking it out with a sliding effort after Ismael Bangoura's shot beat Ali al Hosani, the stand-in goalkeeper for the injured Adel al Hosani, his brother, and was racing towards the empty goal.
Wahda had begun well in front of a crowd of 3,066 at the Al Nahyan Stadium, with Baiano twice going close to scoring with efforts. But Wahda had a big let-off midway through the first half when Eisa al Marzouqi's deflected 20-yard effort crashed against the bar with al Hosani beaten.
But they were rewarded for their creative first half efforts when Baiano ended a frustrating half hour with his opening goal. Matar split the Nasr defence for the Brazilian to time his run to perfection, collect and poke it past Moosa.
Nasr pressed hard in the second half with Tenorio and Bangoura leading their attack, but chances were few and far between, as Wahda cruised to their third win of the season, to delight Tite, who was pleased to see his side finally finding the back of the net.
The Wahda manager said: "We have scored seven goals in the last two games with Dubai and Nasr. The team has struck a good balance and they will get even better as the season progresses.
"We created more chances and played consistently well."
Al Ahli 3 // Dubai 1
Al Ahli Khamis 14’, Khalil 61’, Pinga 83’
Dubai Kamara 90’
David O’Leary’s side were always in charge after Ahmed Khamis had given them a first-half lead. Faisal Khalil and Pinga Luciano scored after the break, before Abobaker Kamara got a late consolation.
Al Dhafra v Al Jazira
Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, has defended his Brazilian striker Bare from the frustration of the club fans. Bare has yet to score from five Pro League games and the coach thinks he will come good and it may be against Al Dhafra at the newly named Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium.
“We can’t blame one player,” said Braga. “It is the responsibility of the whole team. Bare must be fed with good ball. We must be patient with him.”
5.45pm Al Jazira Sport 1
Baniyas v Al Ain
Andre Senghor and Jose Sand, the two leading strikers come face-to-face when Baniyas entertain Al Ain tonight.
Senghor, the tall Senegalese, has scored in every game and tops the league’s scoring chart with six goals, one more than Al Ain’s Sand. Al Ain coach, expects a close contest, saying: “Baniyas are one of the most exciting teams and they play an offensive game, and so are we. It will be an exciting match.”
8pm Al Jazira Sport 1