x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Valdez sways game for Al Jazira

The rivalry and the passion were familiar. Many of the participants were not. Seven goals were scored, six by players in their first Capital Derby.

Al Jazira were matched move for move by Al Wahda most of the match but the visitors found a way to strike last to win. Mostafa Reda / Al Ittihad
Al Jazira were matched move for move by Al Wahda most of the match but the visitors found a way to strike last to win. Mostafa Reda / Al Ittihad

AL WAHDA 3 AL JAZIRA 4

Al Wahda - Tagliabue 4’, 48’, 61’ (pen) Al Jazira - Mabkhout 1’, Barrada 8’, 55’, Valdez 90’+2

Man of the match - Sebastian Tagliabue (Al Wahda)

ABU DHABI // The rivalry and the passion were familiar. Many of the participants were not.

Seven goals were scored, six by players in their first Capital Derby.

Both coaches, Jose Peseiro and Walter Zenga, were getting their first taste of Al Wahda v Al Jazira and, for Peseiro, it was his introduction to the Arabian Gulf League.

A constant, however, was high emotion, as well as an evenly contested, if often ragged, AGL game Saturday night, one which ultimately rewarded the side with the superior attacking flair.

Jazira’s UAE international Ali Mabkhout scored the first goal, 28 seconds into the game, but expats scored the rest, three by Wahda’s Argentine forward Sebastian Tagliabue, two by Jazira’s Morocco international Abdulaziz Barrada, and the decisive strike by the Paraguayan Nelson Valdez, late of Valencia.

The game seemed headed for shared points when two substitutes turned the tide for Jazira in the 4-3 victory. Khalid Sabeel, the veteran Jazira defender bothered by injuries in recent seasons, came on in the 85th minute, and seven minutes later, he dribbled through two Wahda defenders and crossed just in front of goal, where Valdez, who had come on in the 69th minute, poked it home.

Valdez also has had injury problems, which perhaps explained his animated celebration in front of Jazira fans at the far end of the stadium.

Zenga, who was sent into the stands after remonstrating with the referee, said he is trying to return the confidence that marked Jazira sides in previous seasons, when they were one of the league’s elite.

“I’m working more with the spirit of the team. In this moment it’s very important to work day by day and not think far away, but try to find again the spirit of the team that can play everywhere against anyone without any problem,” he said.

“In this previous period, we did not show heart and passion and the courage to play. We have to bring back that enthusiasm inside the club. I can’t say this is a new start; I’m a working man, not a magician, and it can be up and down. But victories bring happiness and with happiness you can work better with the players.”

Peseiro said he was not disappointed at the effort, which came with Wahda playing without their normal centre-backs, due to injuries.

“It was a good match, with emotion and goals, and two teams who wanted to win,” the Portuguese said. “We didn’t deserve to lose the game this way. My players did a fantastic job and deserved a result. I am sad because my team lost, but my players showed spirit and fight for this team.

“I like the goals, the offensive game, but at the same time I like to score more than the other team.

“I have been with the team only eight days. I must work better with my team and my players, and after that, perhaps I can take some day of rest. We lost, but you showed everybody, the fans, that they must believe in us.”

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

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AL NASR 0 SHARJAH 0

Al Nasr and Sharjah played out a 0-0 stalemate at the Al Maktoum Stadium yesterday, giving the two sides a share of the spoils. Al Nasr have earned 10 points from their opening seven games, while Sharjah have 13. Despite the match being an open affair, neither side could find the final touch to claim the win.

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Al DHAFRA 2 AL SHABAB 6

Edgar Bruno was the star of the show as Al Shabab hit Al Dhafra for six at the Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium. The Brazilian striker scored four times, with Shabab’s other goals coming from Adeilson and Carlos Villanueva. The win gives Marcos Paqueta’s men 15 points and second place in the table.

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DUBAI 1 AL WASL 3

Hector Cuper’s reign as Al Wasl manager got off to a winning start with a 3-1 away victory at Dubai. Mohamed Naser and Ali Salmeen made it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark, before Bruno Cesar got one back just before the break. However, Mariano Donda’s 72nd-minute strike sealed the points.

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