Al Wasl dominate Al Nasr to end 17-year wait for a third President's Cup win

Brazilian Fabio Lima strikes twice in Dubai club's emphatic 4-0 victory at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

 

Brazilian Fabio Lima scored twice for Al Wasl in the final on Friday. - Instagram
Brazilian Fabio Lima scored twice for Al Wasl in the final on Friday. - Instagram

Published: Sat 18 May 2024, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 19 May 2024, 3:06 PM

Al Wasl Club may have needed 17 long years to win a third President's Cup title but when they did, they did it dominantly, steamrolling fellow Dubai club Al Nasr 4-0 in Friday’s final at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.

The emphatic win sparked euphoric celebrations as jubilant Al Wasl fans started singing their club anthem at the iconic stadium in Al Ain.


Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, also congratulated the Dubai club on the historic win.

"Congratulations to Al-Wasl Club...to the fans, players and the administrative team Al-Namoos is the first patron of Al-Wasl, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum We also thank Al-Nasr Club for its performance during the current season and their reaching the final of the President’s Cup at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain," Sheikh Hamdan wrote on X.


The former Club of the Century which was created in 1974 when Al Orouba merged with Zamalek, last triumphed in the prestigious competition during the 2006-2007 season when they defeated Al Ain 4-1.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

The emphatic victory kept Al Wasl on course for a magical double as they currently lead the UAE Pro League by a comfortable six points heading into the final stages of the tournament.

Ali Saleh scored the fouth goal for Al Wasl. - Photo X
Ali Saleh scored the fouth goal for Al Wasl. - Photo X

Al Wasl, who is coached by Serbian Milos Milojevic, also qualified for the AFC Champions League while an out-of-sorts Al Nasr was denied a fifth President Cup title. They had previously won the tournament four times, most recently in 2017.

Brazilian Fabio Lima was the star of the match scoring twice, including the first from the penalty spot, before Swiss defender Haris Seferovic headed in the third and Emirati forward Ali Saleh added the cherry on the top.

In the semi-finals, Al Wasl beat Ittihad Kalba 4-1 in Sharjah while Al Nasr beat Shabab Al Ahli 4-3 at Al Wasl Stadium.

Al Wasl boast the largest fanbase among the UAE clubs so it was not surprising to see that the stadium was bathed in yellow and their army of supporters were treated to a masterclass by Milojevic’s players led by the mercurial Lima.

Al Wasl club have one of the largest fanbases in the UAE. - Photo X
Al Wasl club have one of the largest fanbases in the UAE. - Photo X

They dominated the game from the start, and although it took most of the first half for Al Wasl to get the breakthrough, two goals within five minutes of playing time by Lima sufficied to put an end Al Nasr's resistance before more by Seferovic and Saleh extended the margin in the second half.

The Serbian paid tribute to his players who he says played with a lot of ‘energy’.

“As Carlo Ancelotti said there is no good coach without good players,” he said. “The team was very good and they played with a lot of energy which made the difference.”

Äl Wasl were unbeaten in the Pro League and other domestic tournaments until their last match in which they lost to Al Wahda, which helped them to reset and sharpen up according to Milojevic.

Al Wasl players celebrate their long-awaited victory. - Photo X
Al Wasl players celebrate their long-awaited victory. - Photo X

“After that match, I told them that this game is a good chance to prove yourself. We were not sharp enough in our last match but today we were sharp from the very first minute.”

Looking ahead to the likelihood of Al Wasl completing a double by winning the Prp League  Milojevic added: “We have four matches more and if we play with the energy we showed today we can achieve the other target as well.”

Lima who has been a long-serving star of Al Wasl, for whom he has played more than 299 matches and scored 163 goals, said it was one of the happiest days of his career.

“I love my club and UAE, which is now my country,” said Lima who joined Al Wasl during the 2013 season and has also represented the UAE national team after becoming a naturalized citizen.

“I love these colours and love to win matches and tournaments like these. I’m so happy.”

Al Nasr coach Alfred Schreuder admitted that ‘nothing went according to plan’ in the final.

“This wasn’t our day,” he said. “We conceded two quick goals which seemed to affect the confidence of the players. “Congratulations to Al Wasl, they played like champions and deserve this trophy.”

ALSO READ:


More news from Sports