Al Wahda hold improved Al Wasl

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Al Wahda hold improved Al Wasl

The League’s pace-setters, had just about enough left in the tank to rally twice to hold ‘The Cheetahs’ to a 2-2 draw in the AGL at the Al Nahyan Stadium.

By James Jose (Senior Reporter)

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Published: Mon 20 Oct 2014, 12:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:31 PM

Caio Canedo Correa of Al Wasl (90) goes airborne after being tackled by Al Wahda’s Khalid Jalal during their AGL match at Al Nahyan Stadium. — KT photo by Nezar Balout

Abu Dhabi — Four days is clearly not enough time when put in charge of a football team. But Gabriel Calderon is an old hat in this part of the world and knows the mentality of the players all too well.

The Argentine effected a brilliant turnaround after being put into the Al Wasl hot-seat just days ago. And a second League win was there for the taking. But a resolute Al Wahda, the League’s pace-setters, had just about enough left in the tank to rally twice to hold ‘The Cheetahs’ to a 2-2 draw in the Arabian Gulf League at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Saturday night. Ederson Alves and Caio Canedo Correa had given Al Wasl the lead twice but a Sebastian Tagliabue penalty and Amer Omar, who stood out on the night, levelled it for Al Wahda.

Al Wahda preserved their unbeaten start to the League to remain on top with 14 points from six games, with four wins and two draws. Meanwhile, Al Wasl, who saw Calderon banished to the stands after arguing with the referee Omar Mohammed Al Ali, over a foul, are placed 10th with six points from six matches. This was their third draw after a solitary win and two losses.

Al Wasl might have fluffed a good chance but nevertheless, they would be happy with the result again the League’s leaders and the way their players fared on the night.

The game was akin to a boxing bout with both trading punches. That was pretty much the storyline throughout the game. But Al Wasl looked a lot more compact and cohesive and deservedly nudged past the hosts. And Al Wahda virtually had to throw the kitchen sink to end the night with a point.

Their talisman Ismail Matar, who is on a comeback trail after an injury-induced absence, made his first appearance this season, when he was thrust in with 18 minutes left and with Al Wahda trailing. Argentine midfielder Damian Diaz, another injury returnee, came on with 12 minutes left on the clock to pull Al Wahda out of a hole.

Both sides had a fair share of misses in the opening minutes with Al Wahda, who came the closest. Omar, who had a good game, fumbled with a meek a left-footer from close range after Badr Al Harthi had sizzled with a cross from the left. Sebastian Tagliabue glanced it to Omar’s path but the latter lost balance when trying to take aim and the Al Wasl goalkeeper Ismail Rabee had the simplest of collections. -

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