Al Nasr secure first point of UAE League Cup while Emirates use second-half surge to pull away from Al Wasl, writes Ahmed Rizvi
Home is not so sweet for Al Shabab as Al Nasr pull out 2-0 win
Al Shabab 0 Al Nasr 2
Al Nasr: Darwish 06’, Luis 37’
Man of the match: Helal Saeed (Al Nasr)
DUBAI // Al Shabab’s disappointing run at home this season continued Friday night as they crashed in a 2-0 defeat against Al Nasr in a Group B match of the UAE League Cup.
Shabab have only one win in four matches at home this season, a 3-1 triumph over Al Ain 3-1 in their Arabian Gulf League opener.
“This is a point that we have observed as well and we have been talking to the players about it,” said Marcos Paqueta, the Shabab coach.
“We need to do better at home. Compared to last year, we are definitely not doing so well at home. So we need to work on maximising our home advantage.”
The earlier defeats came against Al Wasl in a 1-0 loss in the League Cup opener, and in a 4-2 setback against Al Jazira in the last league game.
Away from home, they have a win and a draw in two matches.
Nasr, searching for their first point in the tournament after losing the opening game 2-1 to Ajman, went on the offensive from the opening minute and took the lead in the sixth when Mahmoud Hassan Darwish, scampering for a loose ball following a corner, tapped home at the far corner.
Just over half an hour later, the visitors were up 2-0 when Eder Luis bolted past two Shabab defenders for a ball headed onward by Toure, and the Brazilian squeezed it past the sliding goalkeeper, Ismail Rabea.
Shabab were clearly a bit edgy in defence and losing the services of their left-back, Hamdan Qassim, to an injury in the 16th minute did not help their cause.
Because of the injury, coach Marcos Paqueta was forced to make another change before the break, bringing in veteran Adel Abdullah for Nasser Masood in the 39th minute to strengthen their defence.
The unbearable humidity also caused plenty of problems for both set of players.
In fact, Shabab’s Abdullah Faraj left the stadium in an ambulance after collapsing in the changing room at the end of the game. His immediate condition was uncertain.
Al Nasr manager Ivan Jovanovic conceded that the conditions made it difficult for the players, but he was pleased with the performance of his team.
They were in control right through, never allowing much, if any, leeway to the hosts.
“It was not an easy game for us, as Shabab are a very good team,” he said.
“[But] we lost the first game against Ajman, so it was very important for us to win this match and stay in contention in the tournament.”
Second-half surge pushes Emirates surge Al Wasl
Emirates ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Al Wasl on Friday night at the Al Maktoum Stadium to leapfrog the visitors in the UAE League Cup Group B.
Following a scoreless stalemate in the first 45 minutes, German Herrera set up Luiz Henrique for the opener just after the break. Haidar Ali made it 2-0 shortly thereafter and Hassan Ali played in Herrera to wrap up the victory after 74 minutes.
Emirates have now picked up four points from their opening two games, while Al Wasl remain stuck on three points, having now lost two of their three matches. Ajman lead the way in the group on seven points, one ahead of Al Dhafra.