Al Nasr beat Al Wahda; Hertog hails players after victory over Kalba - GulfToday

Al Nasr beat Al Wahda; Hertog hails players after victory over Kalba

Al-Wahda

Players of Al Nasr and Al Wahda in action during their Arabian Gulf League match on Saturday. Supplied photo

Ronnie Fernandez scored from the spot as Al Nasr completed a late 2-1 comeback against Al Wahda at Al Nahyan Stadium in matchweek 20 of the Arabian Gulf League on Saturday.

Al Wahda started on the front foot, as they missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 20th minute. Ahmed Shambih brilliantly saved Sebastian Tagliabue’s close range rebound shot after Tareq Ahmed’s initial strike from Khalil Ibrahim’s cross was also saved by the goalkeeper.

Al Nasr responded in the 37th minute, as Ahmed Ibrahim advanced up the right flank and sent an accurate cross towards Fernandez, however, the Chilean’s header went just wide over the bar.

Tagliabue continued to be at the centre of attention for the Clarets, when he opened the scoring just eight minutes after the restart. The Argentine converted Ibrahim’s low cross, with a composed right-footed first time shot.

Super-sub Mohamad Al Akberi leveled things up for the Blues less than five minute after coming on.

The number 8 received the ball near the edge of the box and unleashed a powerful curler that nestled into the top corner, making it 1-1 in the 69th minute.

In the dying moments of the game, Rashid Omer was brought down inside the box by Ahmed Rashed, compelling the referee to point to the spot and award the visitors a penalty kick. Fernandez slotted calmly into the bottom right corner to snatch the full mark for the Blues.

Following the victory, Al Nasr moved to the ninth spot with 23 points ahead of their important clash against Emirates club on April 19. Meanwhile, Al Wahda occupy the sixth spot with 31 points and are set to face Shabab Al Ahli next week.

Meanwhile, Al Jazira’s head coach Damien Hertog praised his team’s character and determination after they came from two goals down to beat Ittihad Kalba 4-2 on Saturday night.

In their AGL clash, Al Jazira found themselves trailing 2-0 after just 27 minutes but showed their resilience to equalise at half-time thanks to goals from Musallem Fayez and Sebastian Siani.

Kalba was reduced to 10-men with 20 minutes remaining and Al Jazira took full advantage by taking the lead through Ernest Asante. Leonardo then sealed the points deep into stoppage time. Ittihad Kalba’s goalkeeper and Ali Mabkhout were later sent off with seconds to go following an altercation.

The result was Al Jazira’s second successive victory and Hertog was pleased with the manner of how his players responded especially on a difficult playing surface due to the torrential rain in Sharjah.

“The match should not have gone ahead. There was a lot of rain which made the pitch very difficult for both teams,” Hertog said in his post-match press conference.

“The players were really struggling and we conceded two early goals because of this. But we always believed in ourselves and kept trying hard to get back into the game. We managed to do that when we scored twice before half-time which was very crucial for us.

“Although the pitch improved in the second-half, we couldn’t pass the ball freely to each other but we showed strong character and mentality to give us this win. We deserved to win the match and I want to congratulate the players for this important victory.”

The win sees Al Jazira reclaim third position in the standings with 40 points and Hertog insists his team will give everything to finish the season on a high.

“Finishing first is very difficult but we want to keep the pressure on the teams above us,” added the Dutchman. “We want to win all the games but we will take it match by match.”

Al Jazira will next be in action when they host bottom-placed Dibba on Friday.