x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hugo bosses the cup tie for victorious Al Wahda

The Brazilian takes his tally to four in two games, including three from the spot, as Al Wahda record a fine away win at Al Ain in the Etisalat Cup.

DUBAI // Hugo scored either side of the half to power Al Wahda to a 2-1 victory over Al Ain in their Etisalat Cup opener at the Rashid Stadium last night.

The Brazilian midfielder, playing as a forward in place of Fernando Baiano, was on target with a spot kick and then fired a low shot to the far corner of the net before Al Ain pulled one back when Ismail Ahmed headed a corner in the 76th minute in front of an appreciative crowd of over 8,000.

Al Ain were forced to play at a neutral venue because of a stadium ban for the crowd trouble last season.

Roared on by their travelling fans, Al Ain pressed for the equaliser and could have secured it had Mohammed Malallah's chip over Mutaz Abdulla, the goalkeeper, not fallen the wrong side of the post.

Wahda took the lead when Mahmoud Khamis won a spot kick decision from the referee, Abdulla Ali Al Zaabi, when he went down with minimum contact from Rami Yaslam. Hugo sent Dawoud Sulaiman, the Al Ain goalkeeper, the wrong way for his third penalty in two matches. He scored twice from the spot in the Super Cup win over Al Jazira.

Saeed Al Kathiri, who came on as a substitute for Ismail Matar in the second half, had an opportunity to extend the lead. His shot crashed against the crossbar and a second attempt on the rebound was blocked by Sulaiman.

Al Ain had chances of their own in the first period. Yasser Al Qahtani's bicycle kick fell just wide, Fares Juma's header from a corner sailed over the crossbar and Mutaz Abdulla did well to push out a close-range effort from Yaslam.

Abdulla also did well to hold on to a close-range shot from Malallah and the Argentine, Ignacio Scocco, also went narrowly wide with an effort from inside the box as they pressed for the equaliser late in the first half.

Conspicuous by absence for Wahda were Baiano, the Brazilian striker and the club's top scorer in the last two seasons, along with Hamdan Al Kamali, the central defender who is recovering from a cheekbone fracture in the UAE's World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on September 2.

But Matar, their influential forward who underwent a knee surgery in the summer, was given his first start after coming in as a substitute in the last 10 minutes in the Super Cup six days ago. His return gave Hickersberger extra reason for cheer.

 

apassela@thenational.ae

 

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