x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Pro League round-up: Two matches, two wins for Al Wahda's Josef Hickersberger

Al Wahda blanks Al Ain at home, Al Shabab get past Dubai and Al Fujairah's win over Kalba makes relegation battle go into final week, writes Amith Passela.

Al Wahda defeated Al Ain 2-0 on Saturday to give Al Wahda interim manager Josef Hickersberger two wins in as many games. Delores Johnson / The National
Al Wahda defeated Al Ain 2-0 on Saturday to give Al Wahda interim manager Josef Hickersberger two wins in as many games. Delores Johnson / The National

Al Wahda 2 Al Ain 0

Al Wahda Saleh 43’, Waigo 75’

Man of the match Papa Waigo (Al Wahda)

ABU DHABI // Josef Hickersberger is "willing" to accept a contract extension with Al Wahda to stay with the club next season.

"I know the players and the administration really well after working for three-and-a-half years at Wahda and it would be easier for me to handle them," said the 65 year old Austrian said when he was asked if he would take up a permanent post with the Abu Dhabi club next season.

Hickersberger returned to Wahda last month on a short-term contract for a third spell in charge after the club sacked Branko Ivankovic.

And he made it two wins out of two in the league by leading Wahda to a resounding 2-0 home victory over champions Al Ain.

"We had a very good start to the game," he said. "We were confident and created three scoring chances. And then we got a lucky goal from a deflection and with that lead we defended well over the 90 minutes and it was difficult for even the champions to score against us.

"It was a small consolation to win against the champions. The result of course will help the players to get more confident and if they put in hard work they will be rewarded sooner or later."

Salem Saleh was lucky to open the scoring when his effort from outside the box deflected off Ismail Ahmed, the Al Ain defender, to give the home side a 1-0 lead at the break.

Papa Waigo made it 2-0 when he rose above the Al Ain defence to head home a Mohammed Al Shehhi corner and seal the win 15 minutes from time.

Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach, said his players were going through the motions after winning the league.

"It is not easy to motivate the players when we have nothing to play for. Some of them are already on holiday mood. So I can't talk much about this game."

Dubai 0 Al Shabab 2

Al Shabab left it late before goals from Luiz Henrique and Ciel during the final 15 minutes kept them in the hunt for a top-three Pro League finish. Shabab are now a point behind Al Jazira and two off Baniyas, with the Abu Dhabi teams facing off Monday in their penultimate match.

Kalba 1 Dibba Al Fujairah 2

Dibba kept their hopes of avoiding the drop alive with a come-from-behind victory over already-relegated Kalba. Amer Deeb put the home side ahead after seven minutes but Najem Ahmed equalised with 71 minutes gone before Alex headed a winner from close range with five minutes left.

Al Nasr 1 Al Dhafra 2

Al Nasr’s poor run of form continued as they were beaten by an impressive Dhafra side, who have now lost just once in nine games. Bandar Mohammed and Makhete Diop scored either side of half time for Dhafra. Bruno Correa pulled one back on 74 minutes but could not stop a third straight defeat for Nasr.

apassela@thenational.ae

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