Hosts Al Nasr manage 1-0 victory over Al Ahli
Al Nasr forward Wanderley Santos in action
Dubai - Red Knights' coach Cosmin Olaroiu was often seen scratching his head when no less than five golden chances were lost as his forwards missed the target narrowly, and once when the woodwork came in the way.
Hosts Al Nasr held their ground well though they were on the receiving end for most of the time in the second half, before managing a 1-0 victory over Dubai neighbours Al Ahli, in the opening round of the Arabian Gulf Cup late Friday night.
Red Knights' coach Cosmin Olaroiu was often seen scratching his head when no less than five golden chances were lost as his forwards missed the target narrowly, and once when the woodwork came in the way.
This was in the second half after Al Nasr's Khalifa Mubarak cleverly glided home a cross with his heel following a fine Tareq Ahmed-Ahmed Khamis combo assist in the 47th minute (1-0).
Thereafter the second half belonged to the visitors after they shared the honours in the first half as far as exchanges were concerned, on a hot sultry night where temperatures soared close to 40 degrees celcius.
The man who threatened to open Al Ahli's account was the ever reliable forward Everton Ribeiro with his deft passing, shooting skills and wonderful distribution work, and often one thought he was doing the playmaker's job full time as well, up front.
He latched on to a superb Mohammed Alkhoori through pass in the 61st minute and while on the run sent a shin high right footer towards the goal, beating everyone except the far vertical post. The rebound went wasted despite the whole Nasr defence being in a mess.
Rodrigo Lima too had his chances, thanks to some quiet but great spadework in the middle by the Korean Kwon Kyung. Off one such move initiated by Kwon, Ribeiro found space and speed to quickly relay the ball to Lima who tried a first time volley that sailed over the cross piece from a hand shaking distance in the 50th minute.
Al Ahli continued to press hard and in the 72nd minute, Waleed Ambar had only to tap home a cross from the right but in trying to do it too casually he paid the price when he mistimed his effort. And, Saeed Jasem had the easiest of the 'golden chances' two minutes into added time when he squandered an open goal opportunity.
In between, Al Nasr shrugged off their second half lethargy in the 63rd minute when Ahmed Ibrahim let go of one from a wonderful on the platter presentation set up by Amir Mubarak. And with the stadium clock clicking into the 70th minute, Ibrahim cut through the Ahli defence for Ahmed Khamis to dart and have a try at the goal, but Ahli goalie Saif Yousuf did well to come in line of the shot.