Dubai: Until the first goal arrived on a sultry Sunday evening, Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic was crouching on the touchline, looking nervously at his men in the middle and rarely saying a word. It is not yet known if he admires the celebrated Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, but the Serbian’s demeanour had an unbelievable similarity with that of the current Marseille coach.
Eventually, Al Nasr managed to calm Jovanovic’s nerves with a comfortable win, their first of the new season. The 3-0 win over Sharjah in their second game has put them in the second place with four points behind Al Wahda at the Arabian Gulf League standings.
“It was a very important win. Sharjah is a very compact team. We needed to take our chances. I am relieved that we managed to take our chances today,” Jovanovic, who had guided his former club APOEL to the Champions League quarterfinals in 2012, later told reporters.
“They were quite dangerous on the counter attacks. But our defenders were able to deal with it. Also, the conditions were very difficult and you can’t expect any team to play a pressing game.
“Overall, I am very happy with the performance of the team. We need to work as a team for the full season. That’s why a good balance is required. Today, the local players were exceptional. I hope it continues as the local players’ understanding with the foreign players will be key.”
While the two first-half goals came from Hassan Mohamed and Ali Salem Al Ameri, Ivan Trichkovski had a memorable debut. The Macedonian striker scored the third goal after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Naturally, Jovanovic was delighted. “Well, he is a player with lot of quality. I worked with him for two years in the past at APOEL. He is a player who has played Champions League football. So obviously he is someone who can give us solutions in important moments.”
Meanwhile, Pauko Bonamigo, Sharjah’s Brazilian coach, was left rueing his team’s defensive frailties. “We lost today because our backline made mistakes. And Al Nasr punished us. We could have made a comeback but the second goal came at a crucial stage of the match (just before half-time),” he said.
“Some of our players were injured and we are working hard to help them regain fitness,” added the Brazilian whose team sits at the bottom of the table after defeats in the first two games.
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