x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Senghor's double is trouble for Wahda

Andre Senghor continued his remarkable scoring run as Baniyas fought off Al Wahda 2-1 last night to notch their second victory in the Etisalat Cup and go on top of group A.

Andre Senghor continued his remarkable scoring run as Baniyas fought off Al Wahda 2-1 last night to notch their second victory in the Etisalat Cup and go on top of group A.

It took Senghor's tally to 14 goals in all competitions this season. He has scored in all 11 Baniyas games, with 10 goals from eight Pro League matches, two from two Etisalat Cup contests and two goals in one round of the President's Cup.

The tall and athletic Senegalese striker last night scored one of the quickest goals of the season. He sprinted inside the area before smacking home a long and low pass from Saqer Hammadi past the charging Ali al Hosani, the Wahda goalkeeper, to put his team ahead in just 25 seconds.

Baniyas were gifted a second goal two minutes after the interval when Basheer al Hammadi, the veteran Wahda defender, headed Saad Mubarak's dipping cross from the right flank, a ball deflected by another Wahda defender, into the back of his own net.

Al Hammadi made up for his mishap with a fiercely struck free kick from 40 yards three minutes from time, a ball that snuck inside the upper-left corner of the goal.

Given a chance to salvage a point, Wahda pressed furiously into extra time, but the visitors never generated a dangerous scoring opportunity in the dying minutes.

The opening Baniyas goal looked like a well-planned ploy. And it worked well for them, as they had the Wahda defence caught napping. Senghor could have doubled the lead had Talal Abdullah, the Wahda defender, not come on his path to block a shot from 12 yards.

Both teams were fielding second-string teams as they were the two UAE clubs most affected by players absent on national duty with the Olympic team, which is in China. But Wahda looked more ragged. The closest they came to scoring in the first hour was when a header from Salem al Rejibi went just wide.

With two goals down, they pressed hard, but without Fernando Baiano and Ismail Matar, both rested, and Mohammed al Shehhi and Saeed al Kathiri, both with the Olympic team at the Asian Games, their attack was far from effective.

Wahda remain rooted to the bottom after two rounds of Etisalat Cup play, having lost the opener to Al Ain 2-0 at home.

Al Ahli overpowered Sharjah 5-2 behind three goals by Aristide Bance, the Burkina Faso forward, to go to the top of group B.

Ahli raced to a 3-0 lead after 37 minutes but Sharjah closed the gap to one goal before Bance scored twice to take them to safety.

Ahmed Khamis opened the floodgates in the 25th minute, and Bance and Pinga, the Brazilian midfielder, added a goal each. Marcelinho struck twice within four minutes early in the second half to get the visitors back in the game, until Bance's pair put the game out of reach.

Ahli fielded most of their first XI, including Fabio Cannavaro, Pinga, Bance, Khamis and goalkeeper Obaid al Taweela.

Yasir Abdullah of Al Dhafra scored an equalizer five minutes into added time to salvage a home draw with Al Nasr in group A.

Ismael Bangoura put the Dubai club ahead in the 21st minute and it seemed to be enough until Abdullah's strike at the death.

* Compiled by Amith Passela