x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Nasr coach upbeat despite mistakes

The Al Nasr coach Frank Pagelsdorf maintained a sense of equilibrium after his side were deprived two vital points by an embarrassing goalkeeping blunder against Al Ahli.

Frank Pagelsdorf, Al Nasr's German coach, managed to maintain an impressive sense of equilibrium after his side were deprived two vital points by an embarrassing goalkeeping blunder. Searching for a win to help ferry them away from trouble at the foot of the Pro League ? where they currently languish in 10th out of the 12 teams ? they held a deserved 1-0 lead over Al Ahli with eight minutes to go. Yet Abdullah Mousa, their goalkeeper, let slip the advantage when he botched an attempt to waste time, gifting Ahli a needless corner from which Cesar subsequently scored. Pagelsdorf refused to criticise his shot-stopper, who made a brilliant first-half save from a rasping drive by Ismail Ahmed to keep the underdogs level. The former Hamburg SV boss said: "Everybody makes mistakes. These things happen in football." Despite their lowly position, the away side were a good match for the Champions League-bound Ahli. Pagelsdorf, who was brought back for a second stint at the Oud Metha-based club following the departure of the Croatian Luka Bonacic, was satisfied with his troops. He added: "We know we have very good offensive players in our side, so we always expected to make chances. "We ended up having six or seven very good opportunities. I was happy to make that many chances against a side of the quality of Al Ahli." His opposite number, Ivan Hasek, also refused to be downcast despite losing some vital momentum in the battle with Al Ain and Al Jazira at the top of the table. The Czech said: "The league finishes in 10 games' time and we always want to take maximum points from every game. "We didn't play very well, but that happens. The standard of the league is improving all the time and no one game is easy for anybody any more. "We did not make many chances to score goals, but Al Nasr were well organised defensively. We are not satisfied with a 1-1 draw, and we made too many mistakes."

pradley@thenational.ae