x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Donda treble not quite enough as Al Wasl lose to Al Jazira

The Argentine midfielder's side come out on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller, after being beaten 4-3 by Al Jazira in the Etisalat Cup on Thursday night.

Al Wasl's Juan Manuel Olivera takes a shot on goal in the second half at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.
Al Wasl's Juan Manuel Olivera takes a shot on goal in the second half at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.

ABU DHABI // If his first game in charge was anything to go by, Diego Maradona's reign as Al Wasl coach will certainly be entertaining.

His side came out on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller, losing 4-3 to Al Jazira, the defending Pro League and President's Cup champions.

"I am happy with my players because they showed a lot of character and did everything they could," said the Argentine after the match, in which he saw his side fight back from 3-1 down.

Maradona complained about the lack of security at the match, which was played in front of a sparse crowd, saying: "There were people everywhere trying to take pictures. "The arrangements were very poor and it was disturbing for me."

Maradona also turned up late at the post match conference at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium, saying no one told him about it.

Bare headed home a corner in the fifth minute of added time to give Jazira a winning start to Group A of the Etisalat Cup.

The Brazilian striker, who came on as a 60th-minute substitute, timed his jump perfectly to connect with the ball.

It overshadowed a superb debut hat-trick from Mariano Donda, Wasl's Argentine midfield summer signing.

Donda scored a scorching free kick to cancel out Jazira's 17th-minute lead, given them by an Ibrahim Diaky spot kick. Mohammed Abdullah, Wasl's Omani defender, had been penalised for felling Oliveira 12 yards in front of the posts.

Matias Delgado, the Argentine midfielder, curled home a free kick two minutes later to make it 2-1 before Ricardo Oliveira beat the offside trap to run on to a lobbed pass from Subait Khater, calmly rounded Majed Naser in the Wasl goal and put his side two goals ahead.

At that stage it looked as if Jazira would win comfortably, but Wasl, and Donda in particular, showed superb character.

The Argentine, who arrived from Godoy Cruz in the summer, showed why he spent three years in Italian football with Bari, with a fine display.

Donda reduced the deficit five minutes after the break from a spot kick after Subait Khater was penalised for a handball.

Then, on 73 minutes, he made it 3-3 with a rocket shot from just inside the area.

Wasl could have scored again had Juan Oliveira's effort not crashed against the post nine minutes from time, and they, and Maradona, were left to pay for that miss when Bare grabbed all three points.



””Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Amith Pasella on @AmithPassela