x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mutaz ankle break overshadows Wahda's victory

Baiano's spectacular strikes in victory over defending Pro League champions Al Ahli are overshadowed by injury to new goalkeeper.

ABU DHABI // Fernando Baiano's spectacular strikes to steer Al Wahda to a 3-1 victory over the defending Pro League champions Al Ahli were overshadowed with the news that their new goalkeeper Mutaz Abdulla had suffered a broken ankle and may be out of action for three months. The coach Josef Hickersberger was upset, saying: "I would have rather given away the three points. I have never felt as sad in my entire coaching career as I am tonight. Mutaz's contribution was on par with Baiano in his first game for us. He made at least three excellent saves.

"When Mutaz came in, I thought we had finally filled one of the weaker areas in the team. He is not only a good signing along with Baiano, but an inspirational senior pro. It is so sad we lose him after the first game." The goalkeeper got injured as he came out to block Hosni Abd Rabo, the Egyptian midfielder, who was through on goal. The Sudan-born former UAE No 1 Mutaz, 34, signed for Wahda in the summer from Al Ain, with whom he won the 2003 Asian Champions League, five league titles and five President's Cup winner's medals after joining the club in 1997.

Baiano, who racked up 25 Pro League goals for Al Jazira last season to top the scoring chart, scored twice to set the platform for Wahda's 3-1 triumph at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Monday. The Brazilian struck twice in the first half - a fine header and a stunning right-footed effort from just inside the box. Ioan Andone's Ahli pulled one back in the 62nd minute, through Salem Khamis, but the Brazilian Pinga's 25-yard effort nine minutes later sealed victory.

Andone said: "Baiano scored from the two chances and took the game away from us. My players knew Baiano was dangerous inside the box but they couldn't do much to prevent him from scoring. He is so good in finishing." apassela@thenational.ae