x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Dubai players overwhelmed by 'monster' Jazira

Coach Umberto Barberis disappointed after 1-0 defeat despite his players doing well against the Pro League champions in the Etisalat Cup on Friday night.

Coach Umberto Barberis is optimistic about Dubai’s chance of making it to the semi-finals.
Coach Umberto Barberis is optimistic about Dubai’s chance of making it to the semi-finals.

ABU DHABI // After Dubai failed to take advantage of a flurry of scoring chances, their coach, Umberto Barberis, said his players looked up at champions Al Jazira as if they were "a monster" during his team's 1-0 Etisalat Cup defeat.

Lucas Neill smashed a Matias Delgado corner that fell on his path for the only goal of the match on Friday night at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

"My players were thinking they were a small team and looked up at Jazira as if they were a monster," said Barberis, the Swiss national. "They got very nervous in front of the goal and missed so many scoring opportunities.

"I cannot say if I was happy or sad. I am happy because we played a very good game and not happy because we lost. I don't like to lose a game that we played better. It was so frustrating to watch them miss so many chances."

Dubai have picked up three points from three games and Barberis feels his team still have a chance to finish second and reach the semi-finals.

"My team proved tonight that they were not far behind Jazira. And with three points we still have a chance to be in this Cup competition. If we have a chance to win a smaller competition like the Etisalat Cup, why not go all out and win it?

Nabil Daoudi, the Moroccan striker, was guilty of missing more chances than anyone in his side. When asked why he wasn't replaced, Barberis said he does not have many forwards and did not blame his player.

"It happens to all players at all levels," he said. "We can only go back and work harder for the next game. We don't have many good forwards and even had we pulled him out it would not have helped our cause."

Franky Vercauteren, the Jazira coach, acknowledged he apologised to Barberis after the game.

"Dubai were the better team and they deserved to win," said the Belgian. "Sometimes the best teams don't win and that's how football works. Obviously, I am happy for the fact we didn't play well yet managed to win.

"We also had some strange games because if it was not penalties against us, it was red cards. I am not pointing a finger at the refereeing but it is a fact. At the end it makes our tasks more and more difficult.

"It is a good lesson for us tonight. We don't expect to play good all the time but still winning full points was a good result."

Jazira were reduced to 10 players in the last 20 minutes when Ibrahim Diaky was sent off by the referee Hamad Al Yousef for his second booking in the game, the first for a foul on Mohammed Ismail and the second for handling the ball.

Vercauteren said: "I told Diaky to control his game after being booked in the first half. It was a bad reaction from him but he apologised to me later for the mistake." Jazira took their tally to nine points from Group A.

Next week they will play without Neill, the Australia captain, who now joins the Socceroos ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifying match versus Oman in Sydney on October 11.

apassela@thenational.ae


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