x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mohammed Naser leads way for Shabab in come-from-behind win over Wahda

A replacement for the injured Julio Cesar, he scores with his first touch after coming on as a substitute and adds a second in injury time as Al Shabab came from a goal down to beat Al Wahda, the Pro League champions, 3-1 last night to book their place in the Etisalat Cup final.

Jociel of Al Shabab, the man of the match, passes during last night’s game.
Jociel of Al Shabab, the man of the match, passes during last night’s game.

AL AIN // Mohammed Naser scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute and added a second in injury time as Al Shabab came from a goal down to beat Al Wahda, the Pro League champions, 3-1 last night to book their place in the Etisalat Cup final.

Naser, who replaced Julio Cesar, the Brazilian striker who was forced to leave the field with a leg injury in the 67th minute, was set up for both his goals by Jociel, the Brazilian forward Shabab signed during the January transfer window.

The first stemmed from a cross from the right in the 70th minute that Naser headed past the outstretched hands of Mutaz Abdulla, the Wahda goalkeeper.

He tapped home a low cross in the 92nd minute for his second of the evening.

Cesar had cancelled out Wahda's first-half lead from the penalty spot after Haider Ali brought down Jociel in the box four minutes into the second half at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed stadium.

Wahda drew first blood through a Fernando Baiano in the 38th minute.

The Brazilian side-stepped Esam Dhahi and Mahmoud Qassim in the Shabab defence, before drilling his shot past Salem Abdulla after being set up by Ismail Matar.

"We played a better game, particularly in the second half, and deserved to win," Paulo Bonamigo, the Shabab coach, said.

"As a team, we have been improving all the time.

"Today, we travelled with one purpose, to play a balanced game and win.

"It didn't work very well in the first half but after a chat during the break, it worked perfectly well for us in the second half.

"To play in a final is always good for the club's image, and a huge encouragement for the youngsters as well as the fans.

"We are very glad we are now in the final of at least one of the three domestic competitions."

Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda coach, was frustrated after seeing his side surrender their first half lead.

"We played two different games in the two halves," the Austrian said. "We played a good tactical first half but it was a different story after the break. Shabab scored an early equaliser and we couldn't raise our game after that.

"It has been difficult to keep the moral up, both from the players and myself.

"We were focused on the Club World Cup in the first half of the season and that followed with a few poor results and some unlucky results in the league. But we must put this result behind us and look ahead."

Shabab will meet Al Ain in the final.