x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Mission possible for Kalba

Baniyas hit five to keep the pressure on and Vieira faces tough task but he started in positive fashion with impressive victory over Al Ain.

Jorvan Vieira guided Kalba to their first win of the season against Al Ain in the Garden City on Sunday night. AFP
Jorvan Vieira guided Kalba to their first win of the season against Al Ain in the Garden City on Sunday night. AFP

Having masterminded one of the biggest shocks in Asian football by leading Iraq to the Asian Cup title in 2007, Jorvan Vieira is used to being the underdog.

The Brazilian manager now faces another, possibly tougher, challenge - keeping Kalba in the Pro League.

He started in the right way by leading his team to their first win of the season in his first game in charge, a surprise 4-1 victory at heavyweights Al Ain on Sunday night.

Vieira, who replaced compatriot Ednacio Patricio during the six-week break in the league schedule, is hoping his side can build on a result which still leaves them three points from safety.

"We came with a lot of confidence that we could win this game and we have achieved that," Vieira, 57, said. "It is indeed a good start after the break the league has had and we will certainly look to build on this result."

Al Ain, expected to be title challengers, are struggling after nine games. They are 13 points off league leaders Al Jazira and look to be missing the influence of Jorge Valdivia, the Chilean playmaker who left at the start of the season.

Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, the Al Ain coach, is looking to their next game away at Jazira on Sunday as a chance to make amends for the loss to Kalba.

"We made a lot of mistakes in this game and were punished," he said. "But we must learn from these mistakes and prepare for the next game. We have an important match coming up with Al Jazira and this result will not hinder our preparation."

Kalba are still bottom of the table, having increased their points tally from one to four, two behind Dubai, the other promoted club. They also recorded a surprising win - 2-1 at home to Al Wasl - under Junior dos Santos, their new Brazilian coach, who has replaced the Egyptian Ayman al Ramadi. It was just their second victory of the season.

Abel Braga, the Jazira coach who saw his side prepare for the Al Ain showdown with a 2-0 win at Dubai's Al Shabab, said he thought the break between fixtures - due to the Asian Games and the Gulf Cup - had hindered teams' preparations and was the reason for the shock results.

"It is always difficult when you return to the league after a long break," Braga said. "Our preparations were affected without the key players, as they were on national duties, but the important thing is that we came through a difficult game."

In last night's matches, Baniyas kept the pressure on the Pro League leaders Al Jazira after a 5-3 away win over Sharjah last night.

Andre Senghor fired his 11th league goal of the seasonto give the visitors a third-minute lead and Theyab Awana doubled the advantage on the half-hour mark.

Mohammed Fawzi extended the lead while Fawzi Bashiradded a fourth before Amer Abdulrahman rounded off with an injury-time goal after Sharjah pulled one back.

Mohammed Suroor, Gustavo, the Brazilian, and Nawaf Mubarak found the net for the home side, who ended with 10 players after Suroor was sent off five minutes from time.

The win took Baniyas' tally to 21 points, two behind Jazira. Sharjah remained in the mid table on 11.

Al Dhafra returned with a valuable away point from Al Nasr in a 1-1 result.

apassela@thenational.ae