x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Win at home not so easy for Al Wahda

Argentine pair Damian Diaz and Sebastian Tagliabue impressed on their league debuts as Al Wahda held off Al Nasr to begin the season with a win.

Abdulla Al Noobi of Al Wahda dribbles the ball upfield against Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League opener for both teams on Saturday. Al Wahda came back from and early 0-1 deficit to defeat Dubai-based Al Nasr 3-2. Lee Hoagland / The National
Abdulla Al Noobi of Al Wahda dribbles the ball upfield against Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League opener for both teams on Saturday. Al Wahda came back from and early 0-1 deficit to defeat Dubai-based Al Nasr 3-2. Lee Hoagland / The National

AL WAHDA 3

AL NASR 2

Al Wahda: 6’, 24’; Tagliabue 57’

AlNasr: Luis 4; Toure 68’

Red card: Lima (Al Wahda)

Man of the match: Damian Diaz (Al Wahda)

ABU DHABI // The Argentine pair Damian Diaz and Sebastian Tagliabue impressed on their Arabian Gulf League debuts as Al Wahda held off Al Nasr to begin the season with a win.

Diaz scored twice in the first half and Tagliabue added a third as Wahda came from a goal down to win in manager Karol Jarolim’s first game at home.

“We were expecting a good performance from Diaz and he delivered it on the night,” said the Czech manager. “Of course they are both good players with high technical skills.

“We made some mistakes at the beginning but we still managed to score twice and take a vital lead in the first half. I think we could have scored more but we missed a lot of scoring opportunities.

“It is always a nice feeling when you start the top flight with a win and I don’t have any complaints.”

The visitor’s had opened the scoring through Eder Luis, while Ibrahima Toure, the former Ajman and Monaco forward, made it 3-2 with a quarter of the game left to ensure a nervous finish for the home side.

Nasr ended with 10 players when Leonardo Lima, the Brazilian captain, was sent off for a second booking by the referee Ammar Ali Al Junaibi two minutes from time.

“Wahda took the advantage by scoring from the chances they created,” said Nasr’s new coach, Ivan Jovanovic.

“They scored twice in quick succession and didn’t allow us to settle down in the first half.

“We created some chances in the second half but couldn’t score. We still played a good game but didn’t have the desired result on the night. So congratulations to Wahda.”

On the sending off he said: “I can’t comment on the referee’s decision but it is disappointing.”

Luiz opened the scoring when he was played through by Khaled Jalal. The Brazilian ran clear of the Wahda defence, beat midfielder Abdulla Al Noobi at the edge of the box and neatly dispatched his shot to the corner of the net.

Diaz, a summer signing from Barcelona of Ecuador, blasted home a corner to equalise and put Wahda ahead with a header from a cross by Suhail Al Mansoori.

Tagliabue increased Wahda’s lead with a spectacular volley, when he chested a lofted pass from Mohammed Al Shehhi to the far corner of the net but the visitor’s closed the gap through Toure to keep the game alive until the final whistle.

Toure tapped in a right cross from Luis and almost got the equaliser from a similar move only to be adjudged offside.

apassela@thenational.ae