x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tagliabue goal lifts Al Wahda past Al Jazira in UAE President’s Cup

Al Wahda avenged their league defeat 17 days ago to Al Jazira with a 1-0 win over their city rivals in the President’s Cup Round of 16, reports Amith Passela.

Al Wahda's Hamdan Al Kamali, left, fights for possession against Al Jazira in a President's Cup match on Tuesday night. Delores Johnson/ The National
Al Wahda's Hamdan Al Kamali, left, fights for possession against Al Jazira in a President's Cup match on Tuesday night. Delores Johnson/ The National

Al Jazira 0 Al Wahda 1

Al Wahda: Tagliabue 43’

Man of the match: Sebastian Tagliabue (Al Wahda)

AL AIN // Chaos reigned following a scuffle between players, but Al Wahda landed the final figurative blow, avenging their defeat in the Arabian Gulf League 17 days ago to city rivals Al Jazira.

Sebastian Tagliabue’s goal was the lone score of the match, but was enough for Wahda to take their place in the quarter-finals of the President’s Cup after a 1-0 win on Tuesday night at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium.

A scuffle broke out between Yasir Matar, the Jazira substitute, and Tagliabue, with a few others getting involved before security guards and officials settled the matter.

Jose Peseiro, the Wahda coach, played down the incident after the game as “heat-of-the-moment” reaction after a tense game.

“It was a passionate game filled with tension and it spilled over at the end,” he said. “However, nothing serious happened. The players apologized to each other and that’s behind us.”

The league defeat to Jazira was Peseiro’s first game in charge of Wahda.

“My players did a good job and played a good game,” he said. “They are improving after every game and tonight they deserved to win this game against another good team.

“It was a tight game between two good teams. We upped our defence than in the previous meeting and apart from the last 20 minutes, we had more control of the possession.

“You can’t have control for the entire game because we were playing against another good team. We still managed to use the counter-attack and scored another goal.”

Tagliabue collected a long ball and with excellent control of possession inside the box, drilled it past Ali Kasheif, the Jazira goalkeeper, for Wahda to take a vital lead two minutes before the break.

There was plenty of action and intensity on the pitch, but it took almost the entire first half for the deadlock to be broken. Wahda tested Kasheif twice and scored off the second attempt.

Kasheif did well do push out a close-range header from Damian Dias, but had no chance of stopping Tagliabue’s effort.

Walter Zenga, the Jazira coach, thought his team conceded the goal at the critical period and couldn’t get back in the game despite a better second half.

“We had a couple of scoring opportunities to score and we pressed hard toward the end, but nothing worked out well for us,” he said.

“In this kind of period, it is better to be lucky than a good coach. We had some luck in the previous game against Al Ahli to score late in the added time to draw 2-2, but against Al Nasr, we created more chances and still lost the game.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, but it is important how many times you stand up. My objective with Jazira is to bring them to a good level.”

Jazira’s closest chance of scoring was Nelson Valdez’s full-stretch effort to get his boot on a cross that was headed toward his path by Ricardo Oliveira. The ball sailed over the crossbar midway through the second half.

It was a fast-paced game from the onset, as was their first meeting, which ended in a 4-3 result. However, the defence at both ends stepped up their game from their first meeting.

apassela@thenational.ae