Oud Metha Derby ends in a stalemate

Oud Metha Derby ends in a stalemate
ACTION PACKED: AL Wasl's Fernando Gaibor (left) controls the ball with Al Nasr's Rashed Mohammad Omar close on his heels during their Arabian Gulf League match at the Al Maktoum Stadium. - AGL

Dubai - The Al Nasr-Al Wasl fixture had everything but failed to produce a winner



By James Jose

Published: Sat 21 Sep 2019, 9:28 PM

Last updated: Sat 21 Sep 2019, 11:35 PM

It had plentiful of everything, a goodly crowd, high end action, thrills and spills, a fair share of opportunities on either side, fouls, yellow cards and guest appearances by VAR (Video Assistant Referee). But except for a goal.
The famed Oud Metha Derby in this part of town, old Dubai, promised so much over the full 90 minutes but failed to produce a winner between Al Nasr and Al Wasl.
In the end, 'The Blues' and 'The Cheetahs' strode out of the Al Maktoum Stadium, in their club-liveried buses, all square and with a point.
It left The Cheetahs and The Blues eighth and ninth on the table after the first week of action in the Arabian Gulf League.
Shabab Al Ahli sit at the top followed by Al Jazira and defending champions Sharjah respectively. Al Ain, who pulled off a heist against Ittihad Kalba, the other night, are fourth followed by Fujairah.
Ajman are sixth with Bani Yas in seventh. Kalba round out the top 10. Al Wahda, Al Dhafra and this season's League newbies Khor Fakkan and Hatta complete the table.
Al Nasr coach Caio Zanardi and his opposite number Laurentiu Reghecampf will now turn their attention to their next round of fixtures.
And Al Wasl have the tougher test of the two with them travelling to the garden city of Al Ain to face 'The Boss' at the iconic Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday night. Al Nasr, meanwhile, are also on the road, as they make the short trip to Ajman, on the same night.   
Returning to the action at the Al Maktoum Stadiujm, the visitors had started well and could have broken the deadlock on 22 minutes. Ali Saleh, who earned a call-up to the National squad for the World Cup qualifier against Malaysia, earlier this month, had a golden opportunity after he had only the goalkeeper Ahmed Shambieh to beat. But the Al Nasr shot stopper made a fantastic save and deflected it for a corner kick.
The shot stopper was called in again eight minutes later and he did well to ward off the danger before Welliton Soares could pounce on it.
Al Wasl were dealt an injury blow on 35 minutes after Abdulrahman Ali limped off the pitch with an injury and was replaced by Khalid Sabeel.
The infusion of Habib Al Fardan at the start of the second half added a bit more bite to the hosts and the 28-year-old came close towards the closing stages. The attacking midfielder came up with a fine header but Al Wasl goalkeeper Mohamed Al Bairaq thwarted the threat.
Meanwhile, the UAE Pro League celebrated the 89th National Day of Saudi Arabia during the opening matchweek.
The opening weekend's fixtures saw the players and referees enter the pitch dressed in special shirts designed for the occasion.
james@khaleejtimes.com


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