x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Oliveira makes debut in Al Wasl’s victory over Al Shaab

Ricardo Oliveira makes his Al Wasl debut but the Dubai club wait until the 87th minute to score the goal that subdued a disappointed Al Shaab.

Ricardo Oliveira, left, made his debut for Al Wasl but was more notable for coming off the field for Mohammed Nasser, who scored the game-winner at the 87th minute. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad
Ricardo Oliveira, left, made his debut for Al Wasl but was more notable for coming off the field for Mohammed Nasser, who scored the game-winner at the 87th minute. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad

DUBAI // After a run of five league matches and a solitary point, the Al Wasl manager Hector Cuper was hoping the match against Al Shaab would mark a turning point in the fortunes of his team.

The Argentine’s, and indeed the hopes of all Wasl fans, must have received a massive boost a few hours before kick-off when the Zabeel club announced their 18-month deal with Ricardo Oliveira.

And the Brazilian, 33, did not waste any time in donning his new kit, walking out to a warm welcome from the home fans.

A few from the Shaab enclosures were screaming his name as well.

But the more things change at Wasl, the more they stay the same. A new chairman, three new foreign players and half a dozen new Emirati recruits, and Wasl still looked a team in need of serious improvement as they struggled to down Shaab.

Fortunately for them, Mohammed Nasser, who replaced Oliveira in the 65th minute, found himself in a perfect position to shoot home a rebound, three minutes from time, and end Wasl’s run of five matches without a win.

These were Wasl’s first Arabian Gulf League points of 2014; they had lost all three of their previous league matches this month. Their last point came in the 1-1 draw with Baniyas in 2013.

“If I am honest, this is one of the worst matches we have played this season, but we managed to get three points and that is the most important thing,” Cuper said. “We made too many mistakes and the players were not playing for each other, as a team. They were playing with their heart and not using their mind.

“Still, these three points should give us a push for the upcoming matches. Hopefully we will be able to eliminate the mistakes in the coming period.”

Cuper could barely conceal his joy at the end. Wins have been a precious commodity at the Zabeel Stadium and Wasl did not look like they would end their inglorious streak against Shaab. They did not come close to scoring till Nasser blasted home.

Shaab created many more chances and Zeljko Petrovic, the visiting coach, was understandably disappointed at the end.

“It is really unbelievable that we lost,” he said. “We created three- or four-hundred per cent opportunities to score and then we receive a goal three minutes from time.

“One point would have been a big point for us, but I believe if there was one team who deserved to win this game, it was Shaab. We played against a good team, a very fast team. Tactically we were fantastic and after all this, when you receive a goal with three minutes left, it is painful.”

arizvi@thenational.ae

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SHARJAH 2 AJMAN 1

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First-half goals from Sharjah’s Brazilian duo of Fellype Gabriel and Ze Carlos sent Paulo Bonamigo’s men on their way to a victory that keeps them in fourth place, seven points behind Al Ahli. Jasim Mohammed pulled one back for Ajman, who stay bottom.

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AL JAZIRA 1 AL SHABAB 0

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Shin Hyung-min scored just before the end of the first half as Jazira continued their pursuit of Al Ahli at the top of the table. The South Korean’s goal at the 45th minute lifts Walter Zenga’s side two points clear of Shabab and only four adrift of Ahli.

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