x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pro League notebook: Al Wahda dismiss Ismail Matar injury fears

Al Wahda say Ismail Matar will be available for the game against Al Ain, and Al Wasl have signed the Australian-born Uruguayan striker, Richard Porta.

Pro League

Attendances in the first round of Pro League games were 36.2 per cent up on last season, with 26,594 fans attending the six matches. It is 7,338 more than the 19,526 fans who attended the final round of matches last season. Al Jazira drew the biggest crowd, 11,865, for their match against Al Ahli. The Al Ain-Al Nasr game had 5,322 spectators. Diego Maradona and Al Wasl drew 4,313 fans to their Pro League opener against Sharjah. The overall numbers, however, are still below the 5,000 average that the Asian Football Confederation demands.

Baniyas

Jorvan Vieira believes his team will score plenty of goals this season. The Brazilian coach was pleased with much of what he saw in the opening fixture, a 1-1 draw at Ajman. "There were a lot of positives to be taken from a match we should have won," said Vieira, whose team face Al Wasl on Saturday. "We created so many chances and that is encouraging. We are an attacking team and will score a lot of goals this season. It didn't happen in the first game, however, that will change very soon."

Al Wasl

The Dubai club have formally completed the signing of Australian-born Uruguayan striker, Richard Porta, who signed a one-year contract after completing his medical at the club headquarters in Zabeel. The 28 year old, who joins from Italian side Siena, will count as the club's Asian player and should form a formidable partnership in attack with Juan Manuel Olivera, his fellow Uruguayan. Diego Maradona now has his full quota of foreign players with Edson Puch, the Chilean midfielder, and Mariano Donda, the Argentine playmaker. Wasl, who beat Sharjah 3-0 in their opening match, travel to Baniyas on Saturday night.

Al Wahda

Al Wahda have dismissed fears that Ismail Matar suffered a serious injury after he was substituted in the second half of the 2-1 defeat to Al Shabab. Khaled Awadh, the deputy chief executive of the club, said: "He [Matar] complained of back spasm during the break and he was rested for the rest of the game. There are no serious injuries, however, and according to our medical team, he will be available for the next game." Wahda host Al Ain on Friday.

Ajman

Abdul Wahab Abdul Kader, the coach of the promoted Ajman, is hoping the return from injury of his Ivorian forward Olivier Tia will strengthen his attack when his team face Al Nasr on Friday. "We missed several scoring opportunities, particularly in the last quarter in the 1-1 draw with Baniyas," said the Iraqi. "Olivier's return from injury would certainly help us in the attack against Al Ain." Ajman are undefeated in five games in the Etisalat Cup and drew their opening Pro League match with Baniyas.

Al Jazira

Yaser Matar, the defender, may miss the entire season through injury. The 26-year-old centre-half, who has played 68 times for Al Jazirain the past two campaigns, is out with serious cruciate knee damage and will not return to light training until January. "The hope is that Yaser will start training again sometime in the new year, but even then it will take time for him to get back to where he was," said a club spokesman. "At best, we could see him ready for the last few matches of this season."