x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Nasr defeat Shabab 3-1

Al Nasr deal reigning champions Al Shabab their first home defeat in eight months as the Blue Wave ran out 3-1 winners.

DUBAI // Emirati striker Mohammed Omar hit a brace to help Al Nasr deal reigning champions Al Shabab their first home defeat in eight months as the Blue Wave ran out 3-1 winners in an action-packed Pro League affair at the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium. Nasr forward Omar netted his fifth goal of the season midway through the first half, before Mehrzad Madanchi added a second five minutes later. Marcos Assuncao missed a penalty for Shabab before defender Badir Abdulrahman was dismissed. Substitute Mohammed Nasser pulled one back for the Slashers to set up a nervy last five minutes, but as Shabab pushed for the equaliser, Nasr caught them on the break, Omar drilling home in injury time to send the traveling support home happy. Both teams had a sluggish start, but when Omar picked up the ball just inside the opposition penalty area in the 30th minute, he had only one thing on his mind. He took a touch, looked up and stabbed the ball home past the helpless Ismail Rabie. It was a tremendous finish under pressure and UAE coach Dominique Bathenay, with his side facing a World Cup qualifier with Iran next week, must be cursing his luck that the Blue Wave forward has called time on his international career. The goal seemed to spark the game into life with Shabab testing Abdulla Mohammed three times in quick succession, most notably a fizzing strike from Brazilian Renato, which went narrowly wide of the keeper's right post. But Shabab's efforts were in vain as Nasr caught the Slashers on the break. A beautifully weighted 40-yard pass out wide from Humaid Abdulla was expertly controlled by Musalem Ahmed, who turned his defender, before cutting inside. As he drove forward Madanchi, the 23-year-old Iranian midfielder, stole the ball off his team-mate's toe to smash home from eight yards. The Nasr fans went wild as they moved closer to beating Shabab for the first time in the league since May 11, 2006. But the chants again seemed to inspire their rivals as Toninho Cerezo's men put Nasr under pressure for the remainder of the first half. Suroor Salem first came within inches of pulling one back with a spectacular bicycle kick from a Assuncao cross, and then the Slashers striker headed superbly past Rabie only for his effort to be - correctly - ruled offside. The second half started where the first half left off, with end-to-end action. Nasr looked more threatening, but when Mohammed Ibrahim bundled into the back of Renato inside the area, it looked like Shabab might have a way back into the game. The Nasr keeper had other plans however, diving superbly to his left to keep out Assuncao's fierce penalty. Shabab continued to battle though and, despite losing Abdulrahman to a second yellow card, they got their reward when Nasser headed home from a vicious corner. Luca Bonacic's men looked shaken and the Blue Wave fans were fuming when the fourth official indicated six minutes of injury time. But as Omar turned his marker and drilled home a sweet strike from outside the penalty area, the fans erupted, leaving the pitch covered in blue and white tickertape.