x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Baiano saves 'lucky' Al Wahda the blushes against Baniyas

Hugo scored from the spot, and then Baiano volleyed home in the 79th minute for his side to come back from two goals down.

Adnan Hussain of Baniyas is brought down in a challenge from Al Wahda’s Mahmoud Khamis.
Adnan Hussain of Baniyas is brought down in a challenge from Al Wahda’s Mahmoud Khamis.

SHAMKHA // Fernando Baiano's recent brush with the law seems to have provided him with a renewed focus for the game.

But the Brazilian who was held in police custody for his involvement in a car accident has been the match-winner twice after his release. And last night, he scored a late equaliser for Al Wahda to share a point with Baniyas after a 2-2 result in the Pro League.

And, after his latest performance, Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda coach, said: "The time he spent at the police custody has made him realise of his mistakes. He learnt a very harsh lesson from that off-field incident and that seems to have made him a lot sharper and more focused in his game."

Baiano earned his side a penalty when he was pushed down by Mohammed Jaber while going up for a high ball.

Hugo, the Brazilian midfielder, scored from the spot, and then Baiano volleyed home a cross from Ismail Matar for his side to come back from two goals down to salvage the draw.

"It was a crazy game," said Hickersberger. "It may have been entertaining for the crowd but a tense match for me. We were lucky to return with a draw."

Baniyas were 2-0 up in the first quarter. Adnan Hussain opened the scoring from a Haboush Saleh cross, and the provider turned the scorer two minutes later, picking up a loose ball, after Mutaz Abdulla and Eisa Ahmed, the Wahda defender, misjudged and collided while chasing a long ball from Sultan Al Ghaferi.

Baniyas could have put the game to bed had Andre Senghor scored from a spot kick, which the Senegalese forward earned himself when he was pulled down by Abdulla, the goalkeeper, who was sent off for the foul by Ibrahim Al Muhairi, the referee.

Senghor's effort crashed against the post. Hickersberger later said the missed opportunity handed them a lifeline.

"Had they scored from that penalty, it would have been curtains for us," he said. "We came off a poor first half and pushed hard on resumption to score a goal and get back into the game. We did score but we also conceded a penalty almost immediately. Fortunately for us, they couldn't score.

"Baniyas scored from defensive mistakes. We had one of our best defence for the game. They all had quality but didn't have the understanding as they were coming back after injuries." Hamdan Al Kamali and Ahmed were returning for the first time in more than a month to play alongside Mohammed Shaibah, the Oman international, and Mahmoud Khamis.

Gabriel Calderon, the Baniyas coach, felt they were robbed of three points because of the poor refereeing after his team surrendered a 2-0 lead.

"I have been involved in professional football for more than 35 years and have never come across such poor refereeing," said the former Argentine international.

"The referee was responsible for this result. He broke the focus of our players with some very poor decisions and didn't award us a penalty when Haboush Saleh was fouled in front of the goal.

"I know the referee is also human but he made elementary mistakes and lost control of the match. In my opinion, the referee was the star of this match."



Grafite provides relief for Al Ahli with brace

Grafite, the Brazilian forward, scored a brace as Al Ahli salvaged some pride with a 2-0 home win over the promoted Ajman at the Rashid stadium.

The result took the Dubai club’s tally to 10 points and moved them up two places and above Ajman to seventh in the league.

Grafite scored in either half, breaking the deadlock six minutes before half time and adding a second on the 83rd minute. Ajman ended with 10 players after Ahmed Al Yassi was sent off seven minutes from time.

It was relief for the Ahli fans after Al Wasl had thrashed them 4-0 in the President’s Cup last Sunday.