x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Vieira proud of 'fantastic' Baniyas

Coach of bereaved team proud of how his players responded to the death of their teammate, Theyab Awana, despite losing to Al Nasr 1-0 at home on Saturday night.

Players such as Masoud Hassan, of Al Nasr, in blue, proved their level of fitness last night.
Players such as Masoud Hassan, of Al Nasr, in blue, proved their level of fitness last night.

ABU DHABI // Jorvan Vieira, the Baniyas coach, praised his players for the way they responded after a week of grieving for teammate Theyab Awana.

His team's Etisalat Cup defeat to Al Nasr last night, played at Al Wahda and 24 hours later than scheduled, at the club's request, took second place to the week's tragic events.

Awana was buried on Monday after being killed in a car crash the previous night, which, understandably, disrupted the club's usual training programme.

"I thought my team's performance was fantastic," said Vieira, the Brazilian coach.

"We lost three days during this week and that is far too long in football. It's too much. Only one of my boys went down with cramp, and that was incredible.

"We showed incredible fitness and while I did not want to lose the game - I always want to win - we put in a tremendous performance when you consider everything. It was a difficult week.

"I am not sure you would have ever before seen a Baniyas team with such fight."

Al Nasr took a ninth-minute lead, which proved enough to clinch all three points for the Dubai club, from the penalty spot when referee Adel Al Naqbi spotted a foul by Sultan Al Ghaferi on Ismael Bangoura in the penalty area.

The Guinea international was about to shoot from 10 yards after Ali Msarri Al Dhaheri did well to block a Hassan Ameen shot on the line, but was impeded by Al Ghaferi.

The contact was minimal, but the Baniyas protests were waved away and the Ecuadorian striker Carlos Tenorio sent his effort low into the bottom right-hand corner from the spot.

Baniyas, for more reasons than that one, could have crumpled after that early setback but they came within a couple of inches of an equaliser seven minutes later.

An accurate cross from the right by Adnan Al Beloshi was met by Andre Senghor, who rose highest to send a powerful header just a fraction wide of the post.

It was Baniyas who were to go close again on 28 minutes, with a Senghor 25-yard effort that had plenty of power but was straight at the goalkeeper Abdullah Mousa.

Walter Zenga, the Al Nasr coach, then became upset at something referee Al Naqbi said to his bench and his remarks to the officials meant he was sent to the main stand, a decision that infuriated the former Italy international.

Baniyas continued to press and Al Nasr keeper Mousa pulled off a stunning 35th-minute save to keep out a blistering effort from Rashin Najem.

But minutes later Nasr almost doubled their advantage when Bangoura's lob came back off the bar and then Hussain Ibrahim failed to direct the loose ball towards goal.

A hectic first half ended with Nasr's summer signing, Mark Bresciano, forcing Mohammed Khalef into a fine save from the Australian's free-kick and, from the resulting corner, Leonardo Lima missed an open goal from a few yards out.

The second half witnessed some chances, but no more goals

Baniyas thought they had drawn level four minutes after the restart when Senghor made room for himself inside the box and got his shot off on the turn, only for Mousa to save with his legs.

ncameron@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE