x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Disgruntled Hickersberger says: 'The referee decided the match'

The Austrian was left fuming after his young Al Wahda side were left to play with 10 players for more than 20 minutes after Adel Al Hosani, the goalkeeper, was sent off as Al Jazira ran out 1-0 winners in their Etisalat Cup match.

Al Jazira, in white, had already qualified for the semi-finals before last night’s victory.
Al Jazira, in white, had already qualified for the semi-finals before last night’s victory.

ABU DHABI // Josef Hickersberger, was left fuming after his young Al Wahda side were left to play with 10 players for more than 20 minutes after Adel Al Hosani, the goalkeeper, was sent off and Al Jazira awarded a penalty.

"He was one-on-one and had to go for the ball," Hickersberger said. "I haven't seen the television replays but I know he didn't deserve a red card. At the end, the game was decided by the referee."

The coach from Austria provided a game for Al Hosani and Salem Saleh, the forward. Both have been in the UAE Olympic team but did not play in the 1-0 win over Australia in a London Games qualifier last Wednesday.

Al Hosani's time on the pitch ended following a 65th-minute tackle on Waleed Al Yammhi, the Jazira midfielder.

He was sent off by the referee, Ibrahim Al Muhairi, and his older brother, Ali, took his place but was left with little chance in stopping the spot kick from Bare, Jazira's Brazilian forward.

"To go a goal down and play with 10 players was always difficult against a strong side like Jazira," Hickersberger said.

"Jazira had a lot of possession and territorial advantage, but we also had a few chances where we could have scored.

"I am really happy with my young players, particularly Sultan [Al Kaabi]. He had only joined the first team two weeks ago and has shown a lot of promise when given the opportunity."

It was a derby match but without any significance or fanfare. With Jazira already in the semi-finals of the Etisalat Cup and Wahda out of the running, both teams fielded their reserves last night at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Franky Vercauteren, the Jazira coach, had the "always play to win" approach and named Bare in his starting line-up and brought in Matias Delgado, the Argentine midfielder, as a second-half substitute.

"A win is a win and I am happy," said the Belgian. "It was a good result against a very defensive Wahda team.

"It is our approach to always play to win against whatever opposition and under whatever circumstances.

"We are looking for solutions for the future and these are games that can provide the fringe players the opportunities.

"We will give them more opportunities in games like this and possibly use many of them for our last Etisalat game against Al Wasl next week."

Vercauteren hinted he would use some of his players returning from national duty after the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Lebanon on Wednesday.

"I would like to give some of those players who have been away with the national team a chance to play," he said. "It depends on how many get to play and for how long they play. I would also like to give those who have been playing regularly a rest."

The coach also stressed the importance of consistency from his team, saying: "I want to have the same quality of play all the time. I did have Ibrahim Diaky and Ricardo Oliveira on the bench tonight so they can communicate with those who played.

"This is a part of their job as the club's senior players. They can help those players by talking and encouraging them while they are on the bench."

apassela@thenational.ae