x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Baniyas 3 Al Nasr 1

The brilliance of Mohamed Zidan proves the difference as Abu Dhabi side keep pace with the leaders and end Nasr's 13-game unbeaten run.

Mohamed Zidan, left, after scoring the goal to make it 2-1 to Baniyas. Christopher Pike / The National
Mohamed Zidan, left, after scoring the goal to make it 2-1 to Baniyas. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // Mohamed Zidan made up for lost time with two strikes in the dying minutes to end Al Nasr's 13-game unbeaten run in the league and keep Baniyas one-point behind league leaders Al Ain.

The Egyptian forward - a high-profile summer signing from German side Mainz - was making his first start since he injured his hamstring in the opening-day defeat at Al Shabab on September 24.

He was also playing as a lone striker in the absence of leading score Andre Senghor, who was suspended following his red card at Al Wahda last time out.

"We out a lot of faith in him until the end and he didn't disappoint us," Jozef Chovanec, the Baniyas coach, said. "He had to play a new role for the team and he did a pretty decent job and then later turned out to be our match winner with those excellent goals. Of course it is the entire team but Zidan was the hero."

The match was tied at 1-1 when Zidan showed the kind of skill that earned him his reputation at the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen.

He took control of a pass from Adnan Al Beloshi in the Nasr penalty box, faked to shoot with his right foot, bamboozling three defenders, before threading the ball on to his left and firing home. He then wrapped up the points with a breakaway strike in injury time after exchanging passes with the substitute Saleh Hamad.

The result was even more impressive given that Baniyas were also without Ismail Belmaalem, the Moroccan defender, and Amer Abdulrahman, the UAE international midfielder, due to injury.

"I had to play Zidan as a lone striker with Nicky Carle behind. And the midfield linked with them to provide a steady supply to attack. It all worked out well for us on the night," Chovanec said.

Yousuf Jaber opened the scoring when he slammed a shot home after Al Beloshi's effort was fumbled by Abdulla Moosa, the Nasr goalkeeper.

It didn't take long for the visitors to get back on level terms when Giuseppe Mascara, the Italian forward, curled a free kick from just outside the box past Baniyas keeper Mohammed Ghuloom.

Baniyas were the more dominant team in the second period and Moosa made a superb double save midway through the half, stopping a Thamer Mohammed effort from six yards out with his body before Jaber hit the rebound straight into his face.

Walter Zenga, the Nasr coach, was gracious in defeat.

"I think we have had a good run of going 13 league games without defeat and it came to an end tonight," he said.

"We had a good first half but didn't play at the same level after the break. Anyway I am not finding any excuses. Baniyas must be given the credit for their win and we will try prepare better for the next game."

apassela@thenational.ae

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