x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Maradona's men have title in sight

Al Wasl have got one hand on the GCC Clubs' Championship trophy following a convincing 3-1 win over Al Muharraq in the first leg of the final.

Al Wasl coach Diego Maradona on the touchline with Rashed Essa, one of the goalscorers.
Al Wasl coach Diego Maradona on the touchline with Rashed Essa, one of the goalscorers.

Al Wasl have got one hand on the GCC Clubs' Championship trophy following a convincing 3-1 win over Al Muharraq in the first leg of the final last night.

Playing at the Khalifa Sports City in Bahrain, the visitors were a goal down in the 49th minute after Hussain Ali opened the scores for Muharraq, but Essa Ali equalised in the 52nd minute and substitute Rashed Essa made it 2-1 in the 73rd minute before Juan Manuel Olivera struck Wasl's third five minutes from time.

Wasl should have taken the lead in the 25th minute, but bad luck and poor finishing denied them.

First, Mariano Donda's header bounced off the post; the rebound fell at the feet of Olivera, but he shot straight to the Muharraq keeper, Abdulla Al Kaabi. The ball came back to Donda and his shot bounced back off the defenders for Essa Ali, but he failed to finish it off, denied again by the keeper.

Al Kaabi made another brilliant stop in the 47th minute, diving to his left to stop a Donda volley from 20 yards out.

Two minutes later, Muharraq took the lead as Hussain Ali put Ismail Abdul Latif's cross into the net.

In the dugout, Diego Maradona could barely conceal his anger, but three minute later the Argentine was jumping with joy as Essa Ali equalised with a brilliant shot from 20 yards.

Rashed Essa made it 2-1 with another great strike from the edge of the box, which brought the visiting fans to their feet. Olivera then headed in Donda's cross to virtually seal the fate of the final ahead of the second leg in Dubai on Sunday.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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