x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Baniyas' Yeste spoils arrival party for Luca Toni at Al Nasr

A brace by striker overturns home side's early lead in the Etisalat Cup as the new Italian signing watches from the stands.

Al Nasr, in blue, were unbeaten for six games in the Etisalat Cup tournament before yesterday.
Al Nasr, in blue, were unbeaten for six games in the Etisalat Cup tournament before yesterday.

DUBAI // Al Nasr's new Italian striker Luca Toni watched from the stands as Walter Zenga's team suffered their first loss in seven games on Thursday night, going down 2-1 at home against Baniyas in their Etisalat Cup match.

The home side, on a nine-game unbeaten streak in the Pro League, had sent most of their reserve players out for the match, and they took the lead in the 39th minute through Jamal Ibrahim. But two well-executed goals from the new Spanish recruit Francisco Yeste gave Baniyas the win.

"It is a pity we lost this game," said Toni, a member of the 2006 World Cup-winning Italy team, as he posed for photographs with Nasr fans after the match.

"But we are going to win the next one."

Toni arrived in Dubai on Wednesday and had his first training session with compatriot Zenga on Thursday morning.

He was signed on a six-month loan deal from Juventus and will be presented to the media and supporters on Saturday.

Fans should be able to see him action as early as Thursday at Ajman when Nasr resume their Pro League campaign, but last night it was Yeste - released by Diego Maradona from his Al Wasl contract at the end of last season, who grabbed the spotlight.

Gabriel Calderon, Maradona's former Argentina teammate and the Baniyas manager, credited the quality of the Spaniard for his team's victory. "Playing against Nasr is very difficult," Calderon said. "They work very well in defence and in counter-attack.

"The goal for Nasr was a mistake by Baniyas and it became even more difficult for us after that, but we won due to the quality of Yeste.

"I took him for this ... these goals that he can score. His positioning is really good and it shows from the quality of his passing. He has a very good head for passing."

Despite the defeat, Zenga saluted the efforts of his team and said he had no complaints about the result.

"My players played a good game and they did not deserve to lose," said the former Italian goalkeeping legend.

"We missed three or four chances of scoring in the second half. We were also denied a confirmed penalty and it should have been a red card as well. But this football.

"Many of these players had not played for a long time so we have a few positives to take.

"We chose to play with the players who needed more minutes and could take experience from an official game.

"I am not upset because we lost. I just shook my players hands after the game because for me they played a good game and they did not deserve to lose.

The result is not important for us because we are not in the running [to qualify for the semi-finals].

"Now we have a tough game in Ajman and then Wahda five days later. So I have to take care of my players.

"I am sorry if some people are upset because we lost the match. It is my fault, not the fault of the players,"

arizvi@thenational.ae


””Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Ahmed Rizvi on @RizzoMumbai