x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Keeping Yeste a priority as Wasl move a step closer to ACL

The former Athletic Bilbao scores the only goal of the game against Dubai Club to keep Al Wasl third in the Pro League.

Al Wasl 1 // Dubai Club 0

DUBAI // Francisco Yeste's cultured left foot may not be as famous as the one belonging to his newly appointed coach, but it will be Al Wasl's best chance of success in the Diego Maradona era. Because while the Argentine's appointment, though fascinating, is viewed by some as a gamble on the club's part, the former Athletic Bilbao player can guarantee to bring some much-needed class to his team.

In last night's win over Dubai, Yeste was head and shoulders above everyone else without really breaking sweat, not easy in such muggy conditions in Dubai.

His attitude in this first season has been exemplary.

Maradona and Al Wasl are sure to go for a high-profile foreign recruit in the summer, however, their first task should be to make sure Yeste stays for the remaining year of his contract. The Spaniard has arguably been the standout performer in this season's Pro League campaign.

Khalifa Mobarak, the man who will make way for Maradona, said, prematurely, given that his side can still be overhauled in the race for an Asian Champions League qualifying berth with two games left: "I'm delighted that we have confirmed our Asian Champions League place. Dubai came here to win so we had to work hard."

The visitors start brightly and on Michael N'dri forced a good save from Majed Naser in the Wasl goal on 28 minutes.

But the men in yellow took a spectacular lead seven minutes before the break. Darwish Ahmed was a good 25 yards from goal when he collected the ball, took one touch and then sent a blistering shot in to the top corner.

In the second half, Wasl's Tariq Hassan hit the bar from 40-yards and late on Maher Jassim squandered a guilt-edged chance when clean through on Dubai keeper Jamal Abdallah Ali.

Jose Alves Dos Santos, the Dubai coach, was sent to the stand by referee Fahad al Kassar Banihammad for appealing a penalty decision that never was a little too vehemently.

He said: " If I am in the stand for the next few games, it won't affect the team. It's not as if I'm a player."

 

ncameron@thenational.ae