Not quite the fairy tale return for Braga

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Al Wasl players celebrate after scoring a goal during Arabian Gulf League at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
Al Wasl players celebrate after scoring a goal during Arabian Gulf League at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.on Friday, 21 August 2015.

Abu Dhabi - Al Jazira coach sees his 10-man side go down to Al Wasl

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 22 Aug 2015, 9:30 AM

Last updated: Sat 22 Aug 2015, 11:36 AM

Abel Braga didn't quite have the fairy tale start to his second stint with Al Jazira, with his 10-man side going down to Al Wasl in their opening fixture of the Arabian Gulf League on Friday night.
Al Wasl had gone ahead through former Al Ahli midfielder Hugo Viana on 20 minutes. And, though Al Jazira equalised through their new signing Brazilian playmaker Thiago Neves on 40 minutes, The Cheetahs found the winner through Yaser Salem on 50 minutes.
Al Jazira had to play out 67 minutes with 10 men after Musallem Fayez was sent off after receiving a direct red card.
Al Wasl were without Caio Canedo Correa after the attacking midfielder was not registered on time. The 25-year-old Brazilian, on loan from Internacional last season, made his move permanent.
Al Jazira had begun brightly under the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium floodlights by asking a few questions to the Al Wasl defence. Within the opening 10 minutes, Al Jazira had racked up four corners to Al Wasl's one.
Al Wasl were not to be left behind with Fabio Lima, who is on the second year of his loan from Atletico Goianiense, came up with an opportunity on 12 minutes but the 22-year-old midfielder's grounder took a deflection off Saif Khalfan, for a corner.
Two minutes later, Al Jazira's Mirko Vucinic, last season's League top scorer, combined with new signing Thiago Neves on the left but the latter's effort was collected by goalkeeper Rashed Ali.
Emirati striker Ali Ahmd Mabkhout, the Golden Boot winner at the AFC Asian Cup, then saw his low effort collected by Rashed Ali
But Al Wasl went ahead against the run of play through a brilliant freekick from Hugo Viana on 20 minutes. The Portuguese midfielder, formerly with Al Ahli, unleashed a left-footed freekick which curled just enough to deceive goalkeeper Ali Khaseif and go into the right of the net.
Things went even worse for Braga three minutes later after they were reduce to 10 men. Musallem Fayez was given a direct red card by referee Hamad Ali Yousef, for hacking into Abdulla Saleh.
Al Jazira clearly felt the numerical disadvantage and went into a shell. They did make that rare foray but couldn't pierce a Wasl defence, which felt more like a wall.
On that rare occasion they did managed to slip through on 36 minutes, Al Jazira lacked the finish. Ali Mabkhout crossed from the middle to Vucinic and Neves, who both were stationed on the right Neves controlled the ball but Vucinic broke away a touch too early and couldn't drag and defender and break the off-side trap.
Al Jazira looked weary and routine until that moment of spark arrived four minutes later. Midfielder Khamis Ismail teed it up sweetly from the right and Neves, who had passed to Khamis earlier, ran in slammed it home for the equaliser.
But Al Wasl retook the lead again five minutes after the break through Yaser Salem. Edgar Silva, who joined from Dubai rivals Al Shabab, played a long ball from the middle, which took a deflection of Al Jazira new signing Park Jong-woo and fell in Salem's path. Salem then lobbed it over the onrushing Khaseif for the lead.
Al Wasl almost had the third on 71 minutes but Khaseif dived to his left to make a five save after Edgar had headed in a Yaser Salem cross from the right.

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