x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Fighting overshadows Al Nasr match

Al Nasr became the first side this season to score against Al Ain but fighting between players and fans casts a shadow over the match.

Al Nasr have good reasons to be disappointed with the end of their clash against Al Ain tonight. They became the first team to score against Winfried Schaefer's side in the Etisalat UAE Football League, and they did it twice. Yet, the hosts ended up with just a single point, wasting a number of scoring opportunities. But worse, a fracas broke out between the players and the fans after the final whistle. Emotions got the better of the players and the fans as blows were exchanged and missiles thrown. The ugly scenes at the end did no justice to a game that displayed quality attacking football from both sides. The Al Ain skipper Jorge Valdivia opened the scores in the 18th minute, but Mosalem Ahmed equalised five minutes later and Mehrdad Madanchi put the hosts ahead in the 44th minute. Substitute Andre Senghor, however, restored parity 10 minutes into the second session and the score-line remained 2-2 till the end. Al Nasr had just too many holes in their defence to shut out a side which boasts of such attacking talent as Valdivia, Andrea Dias, Senghor and the nifty Ali Ahmed Ali. Al Ain had won their last game ? a President's Cup match against Dibba al Fujairah ? 8-0 and they looked ominous from the start as Dias twice tested the Al Nasr custodian Abdullah Mousa. Valdivia, the Chilean magician, finally managed to beat Mousa, sneaking into the box to head home a Faris Juma cross from the right. Al Ain's advantage, however, lasted just five minutes as the Al Ain goalkeeper Mutaz Abdulla conceded his first goal of the UAE Football League, in the fifth game and after more than 383 minutes when Mosalem Ahmed nodded in a Mehrzad Madanchi corner from the right post. Madanchi, the darling of the Al Nasr fans and best foreign player of last season, then put the hosts ahead in the 44th minute as Al Ain showed their frailty in defence. The former UAE international Mohammed Omar, playing for the first time against his old club, latched on to a loose ball and lobbed it across the box. Reza Enayati then stretched to the limit to pull the ball back for Madanchi who finished with a deft volley over the outstretched Abdulla. Omar had a chance to further increase Al Nasr's tally in the 49th minute as he ran down from the half-line with just a single defender on his tail. But he failed to beat the onrushing Al Ain keeper. The miss proved costly as Senghor pierced the crowded box with a stinging volley in the 55th minute to equalise. Al Nasr did have a few more opportunities to seize the initiative again, but Mahmoud Hassan Darwish volleyed over in the 70th minute, while Enayati was slow to reach a Mosalem cross in the next minute. The Iranian then incredibly missed in front of an open goal in the 74th minute. Omar then missed with a header in the 74th minute. To add to Al Nasr's woes, Waleed Salem was sent off in the final minute of the game for his second booking of the game. As the referee blew the whistle, a scuffle broke out between the players and a free- for-all ensued in the tunnel. The fans then joined in the fracas, showering missiles on each other. arizvi@thenational.ae