x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Home glee for Wahda

Al Wadha maintain their perfect home record in the Pro League with a win against Al Sharjah.

Pinga gives Al Wadha the lead with a first half penalty during their 3-2 win over Al Sharjah.
Pinga gives Al Wadha the lead with a first half penalty during their 3-2 win over Al Sharjah.

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda maintained their perfect home record last night after staving off a late challenge from Al Sharjah to win last night's Pro League game at the Al Nahyan stadium. Wahda were cruising with a three-goal lead going into the final stages, but Mishal Abdul Wahab reduced Wahda's lead with a 25-yard strike in the 87th minute and substitute Saif Salem added a second two minutes later to leave the hosts sweating.

Wahda had the match virtually won in the first half after goals from the Brazilian Pinga, Ismail Matar and Mahmoud Khamis had given them a three-goal lead by the break. Sharjah had one opportunity to close the gap but Wahab headed wide from close range. Pinga opened the floodgates from the spot, earned by Khamis when he was brought down in the 15th minute. Mohammed Othman sent a looping pass for Matar to slot in the next 10 minutes later and Khamis completed a dominant half for Wahda when he blasted home Matar's deft back heel pass for a stoppage time goal.

Wahda didn't rest on their first half lead and could have added more before the hour-mark. Matar was unlucky not to earn a spot kick when he was brought down in front of goal and the talismanic forward later missed out on adding a second to his name when he shot wide When it looked like Wahda were heading for a convincing win, the coach Ahmed Abdulhaleem replaced Matar and Abdulraheem Jumaa late on, and that nearly proved costly.

The victory though still served as a moral boosting win for Wahda, after Al Shaab had ended their 12-match undefeated run last month, and then the promoted Al Khaleej had nearly embarrassed them by taking the first round cup game into extra time last weekend before the Abu Dhabi side finally progressed. Meanwhile, the Iranian Mehrdad Oladi scored an injury time spot kick for the defending champion Al Shabab to earn them a 1-1 draw with Khaleej.

Al Dhafra shared a point with the other promoted side Ajman, the game ending in a goalless draw, which frustrated both sides. apassela@thenational.ae