Al Nasr eye more titles; Shabab Al Ahli coach shifts focus to AGL - GulfToday

Al Nasr eye more titles; Shabab Al Ahli coach shifts focus to AGL


Alvaro Negredo celebrates with team-mates after their victory against Shabab Al Ahli in the final of the Arabian Gulf Cup match.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

A delighted Al Nasr assistant coach Josip Omrcen heaped praise on skipper Alvaro Negredo and Toze for their performance, which fetch them their second Arabian Gulf Cup title.

Al Nasr eked out a hard-fought 2-1 win against defending champions Shabab Al Ahli to regain the title that they won back in 2014-15. With the victory, they also broke the stranglehold of Shabab Al Ahli on the tournament. Both Negredo and Toze were on the target as Al Nasr not only dominated the game from the word go but also scored the fastest goal in the history of tournament with an eight-second strike from the kick-off.

“The quick goal was not planned, but thanks to the skill and experience of a great player like Negredo, who did it smoothly. We were also surprised as he sent the ball rolling into the nets in a flash of a second,” said Omrcen.

Toze chipped the ball into the box and a waiting Negredo deflected it into the Shabab Al Ahli’s goal to give Al Nasr a 1-0 lead in just eight seconds.

However, Shabab Al Ahli did not have to wait too long as Yousef Jaber broke the deadlock twelve minutes later. Jaber equalized through a header off a pass from team-mate Fede Cartabia to make it 1-1.

“After the equaliser, we continued to play as per the game plan, exchanging short balls, until we managed to score the second goal. Winning the Arabian Gulf Cup is an important step that will boost the morale of the team for the other tournaments. Our next target will be league. We studied Shabah Al Ahli very well and sort of knew their strengths and weaknesses,” he added.

Shabab Al Ahli coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena lamented the loss but vowed to come back stronger in the upcoming matches of the Arabian Gulf League.

“I congratulate Al Nasr because they deserved to win the title. We made quite a few mistakes that you cannot afford in the important matches like final.

“Our start was not good, and we received a quick and surprising goal that affected the course of the match. Though, we lost a game, but we must raise our heads and prepare ourselves for the league, especially as we are playing a strong match against Sharjah,” he concluded.

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