x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Wahda one game away from group stage

A passage to India and a match with Churchill Brothers next Saturday is all that now stands between Al Wahda and a spot in the group stage of the Asian Champions League.

Khamis, the goalscorer.
Khamis, the goalscorer.

A passage to India and a match with Churchill Brothers next Saturday is all that now stands between Al Wahda and a spot in the group stage of the Asian Champions League. A Mahmoud Khamis strike in the 72nd minute proved enough for the Abu Dhabi side to triumph 1-0 at Syrian League champions Al Karamah on Saturday night in their play-off clash. The victory sets up a trip to Goa to play the Indian champions in the West Zone play-off, with the winners progressing.

Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda manager, was pleased with his team's display as they overcame unfamiliar cold conditions and a hostile home crowd. "Both teams were cautious because one goal could have been enough for either of them. We were all over the field and we managed to get past the cold and the fans," he said. "We won against a team who are hard to beat at home. "Our defenders also had a good performance and after we scored we tried to hold on to our lead and we managed to do so. Al Karamah had chances in the first half which could have made it hard for us but our goalkeeper Adel al Hosani made good saves and helped us to get back in the game."

Wahda will now focus on their Pro League title aspirations as they travel to Al Ahli on Wednesday knowing a win would lift them to within two points of leaders Al Jazira. Meanwhile, Baniyas kept their momentum going in the Pro League with a 2-1 away win over Al Wasl on Saturday. Andre Senghor, the Senegalese striker, put the fourth-placed side ahead in the 17th minute and Fouzi Basheer, the Oman international, doubled the lead eight minutes later. Khalid Darwish closed the gap near to the hour mark but that was as good as it got for Wasl.

The win keeps Baniyas three points behind Al Ain in the table with Jazira a further point ahead. apassela@thenational.ae