x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Nasr give Ahli a scoring lesson

Positioning and elegance were David O'Leary's forte during his playing career with Arsenal yet both were missing from his team, Al Ahli, last night as they were well beaten by a spirited Al Nasr.

Ismael Bangoura, right, scores Al Nasr's second goal against Al Ahli, despite the attentions of Ahli captain Fabio Cannavaro.
Ismael Bangoura, right, scores Al Nasr's second goal against Al Ahli, despite the attentions of Ahli captain Fabio Cannavaro.

Positioning and elegance were David O'Leary's forte during his playing career with Arsenal yet both were missing from his team, Al Ahli, last night as they were well beaten by a spirited Al Nasr.

A lack of synergy between O'Leary's two centre-backs, the decorated Fabio Cannavaro and Mohammed Qassim, gave Nasr a two-goal lead inside 21 minutes, with Carlos Tenorio and Ismael Bangoura scoring one apiece. The duo then doubled their individual and team tally in the second half.

"We were beaten by a better team and within that better team they had two strikers we couldn't cope with," O'Leary said after his second defeat in seven games of the league.

"No excuses on my behalf. The best team won this match by a mile.

"What I would say is until we change and get the shape right, which is going to be a big challenge for this season and next, what we got to do is be a solid unit. We've got to be organised and stay together.

"Today, we played like individuals. When we play like individuals, things like this can happen. If we think we are all great players and do our own thing, we are going to get punished and we got punished today.

"I spoke to the players last night and I said, 'the strength of this team is the two forwards'. I had been impressed with what I had seen [of them] and they, today, have impressed me more.

"But for all I praise them, the strikers, if you give goals away like the first two, you get no chance of doing anything… absolutely nothing. Game over. That's what it was - two absolute gifts. 'There you go, there's your two-goal start'. We are not good enough to give teams two-goal starts, not yet."

Eid Baroud, the delighted Nasr coach, credited all the hard work the team had put in over the past 10 days for the win. "This victory has not happened by accident," said Baroud, who took over the reins of the team after Helio dos Anjos' was dismissed on October 11.

"We have worked really hard over the last 10 days, every player and all the members of the staff."

arizvi@thenational.ae

Dubai 1 Baniyas 4

Baniyas scored four goals in their win at Dubai with Fawzi Basheer (29 and 45 minutes) scoring twice, and Theyab Awana (52) and Andre Senghor (58) getting one apiece. Baniyas struck back after Rashid Hasan had given the hosts a 10th-minute lead from the penalty spot. But it proved to be a false hope for the basement side, who remain pointless.

Sharjah 0 Al Wahda 0

Al Wahda's problems in front of goal reared their head again last night as they drew a blank in a scoreless draw at Sharjah. The champions have failed to find the net now in five of their seven Pro League games to date, with this latest result denying them the chance to move upto third in the table. The Abu Dhabi have scored 10 goals this season, but five came in one game at Dubai. The only consolation for Wahda is that they have now gone 508 minutes without conceding a goal.

Al Jazira v Al Wasl

Al Jazira will be eyeing top spot when they host leaders Al Wasl at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium tonight. Just one point separates the two teams at the top of the Pro League and Ibrahim Diaky, Jazira’s veteran playmaker, said: “I expect the game to be a treat for the fans because it involves two of the best teams of this season.” The match will be the first Pro League game to be broadcast with English commentary, in a bid to attract more expatriate fans.
8pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 1

Al Ain v Al Dhafra

Al Ain, who are lagging in eighth position in the table, will be desperate for a win after earning just two points from their last four league games. Injuries are still a problem for the nine-time league champions, with Ali Wehaibi, Jumaa Saeed and Abdullah Sultan still out of contention. Their Ivory Coast striker Ibrahima Keita, however, has been training with the team and is expected to start against a Dhafra side who are just one spot below them.
5.05pm, Abu Dhabi Sports

Al Shabab v Kalba

After an emphatic 3-0 win at Sharjah in their last match, Shabab will be looking to add three more points when they host struggling Kalba. Carlos Villanueva, the Chilean midfielder who scored a goal and setup another in that victory, is keen to keep the good times going against a side who have just a single point from six matches. “We just need to find some consistency and I believe we are getting there gradually,” said the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder.
5.05pm, Abu Dhabi Sports