Al Wasl part company with Hector Cuper

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Having managed only four wins in sixteen attempts since taking charge last November, the Al Wasl board has today announced that Argentine manager Hector Cuper has left the club by mutual consent.

Cuper becomes the 6th managerial casualty at Al Wasl since compatriot Diego Maradona was axed by the Dubai club in the summer of 2012 with the team out of all cup competitions and wallowing in 10th in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL).

Announcing the news on their official Twitter account, Al Wasl said: "After a meeting held between #AlWasl Football Club and the coach Hector Cuper, they agreed to finish the contract by mutual consent.

"#AlWasl management wish the best for the Argentine coach Hector Cuper and we thank him all that he has done at his time as first team coach."

The final nail in the coffin seems to have been Al Wasl's 3-2 home defeat to local rivals Al Nasr last night that ensured the side's exit from the Emirates Cup and, ultimately, delivered Cuper's demise just four months into the role.

58 year-old Cuper enjoyed successful stints at both Inter and Valencia, leading the latter to consecutive Champions League final defeats at the turn of the millenium, but could not do enough to arrest Wasl's terrible campaign.

Wasl's season has not only been marred by poor performances on the pitch. The club's board walked out en masse in January this year after a run of three losses in four games that unltimately undermined Cuper and his side's efforts that were painfully below par.

Frenchman Laurent Banide was similarly ousted prior to Cuper's appointment although Banide's early-season record of three wins out of six reflects significantly better than Cuper's ration of a win every four games.

Al Wasl have confirmed that UAE coach Saeed Abdul Rahman will once again take temporary charge of the club, having performed a similar role when Banide was sacked.

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Al Dhafra sail into League Cup last-four

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Prolific: Makhtete Diop (c) got on the scoresheet as Al Dhafra top Group B.

Al Dhafra booked their ticket for the semi-finals in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 trouncing of Emirates Club to take top spot in Group B.

A draw would have been enough to secure a date with Al Jazira but the Abu Dhabi side made sure of their outcome with a commanding win.

Hamad Raqea scored a brace while Makhete Diop and Abdelrahim Hussain were the others on the scoresheet.

A quick brace before half time set Al Dhafra on the way against their hapless hosts with youngster Raqea on target for both with a header from a corner four minutes before the half and smart finish from a Diop pull back in injury time.

With the visitors in the ascendency, Diop put the game beyond reach just 10 minutes after the restart before Hussain sealed the win after 74 minutes.

The result left Emirates Club at the bottom of Group B, falling behind Al Shabab who picked up a point at Al Ahli.

Elsewhere, Al Nasr won their third game in all competitions with a 3-2 win over local rivals Al Wasl.

The Cheetahs could have pulled off a comeback after going 3-0 down but fell short for the fourth straight loss in all competitions.

Ibrahima Toure, Khalifa Mubarak and Ali Al Ameri were the goalscorers for the Blue Wave, giving the away side a comfortable 3-0 lead before Saeed Al Katheeri led a one man comeback with a brace.

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Al Ahli 'lack fight' in Cup draw

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Bore draw: Both sides were short of first-team regulars and it showed.

Al Ahli assistant coach Catalin Raducan blasted his players after a low-key 1-1 draw with Al Shabab in the UAE League Cup.

Save for the last 10 minutes, a dead rubber tie lived up to its billing with a dull first half with the game generally played at a pedestrian pace.

With both teams fielding significantly weakened teams, Omar Ali gave Al Shabab the lead just after half time before Ciel salvaged a draw with a superb left-footed effort from outside the box.

Despite the slow nature of the game, tensions flared at the end after Abdulla Eissa felt he was elbowed in the chest by Adnan Al Beloshi. Eissa had to be restrained by his team-mates even after the final whistle.

At least Shabab had some fire in their belly. According to Raducan, Al Ahli sorely lacked the fight expected of such a prominent team.

“We are not very happy with what happened on the field,” said the Romanian. “We expected more from this game. I don’t think we deserved to win this game today. We must learn our lesson and now look to a very difficult period.

“I can understand it is difficult to motivate the players after a game against Al Hilal in the AFC Champions League in front of 45,00 people but when you give players who don’t get a chance to play very often a game, you expect them to be motivated.

“Pulling on the shirt should bring enough motivation. We are not unhappy at mistakes, we are angry about the lack of spirit, fight, it’s not the result.

“This Al Ahli and when you put on the shirt you have only one option; to win the game and to give 100 percent. I don’t know about the other teams but here you play to win.”

Al Ahli will play away at Sharjah in the semi-final after finishing second in Group B while Al Shabab were eliminated from the competition before the game.

A distinctly flat first half was at least appeased by an early second half goal. A corner from Abdulla Marzouq looped to the back post where Ali climbed to send the ball over Dida in the Al Ahli goal.

The chances dried up again with Shabab in control of game where they boasted no foreign players while the hosts were able to blood Hugo Viana, Luis Jimenez, Ciel and Grafite, although the latter two replace the former two at half time.

With the clock into injury time, Shabab let their guard drop allowing Ciel too much space in midfield coming off the wing. The Brazilian sauntered 30 yards from goal before cracking the ball past a helpless Hassan Hamza.

SEMI-FINAL LINE-UP

Sharjah v Al Ahli
Al Dhafra v Al Jazira 

(Note: Semi-finals take place on March 15)

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