Bani Yas' Garcia praises Belfodil after brace against Dibba

Matt Jones - Editor 07:17 13/09/2015
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Algerian ace: Ishak Belfodil (r) continued his fine start at Bani Yas with a brace.

Coach Luis Garcia says Ishak Belfodil is living up to his belief he can become one of the best three foreign players in the UAE after his pair helped secure a 3-0 win against Dibba Al Fujairah on Saturday.

The Algeria forward and fellow summer signing Joaquin Larrivery were again among the goals as the Sky Blues strolled to a second- straight Arabian Gulf League-win. 

The 23-year-old’s first-half brace made it three goals in two games for the former Internazionale man, Argentine striker Larrivey putting some gloss on a tepid second half in injury time.

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The result saw the Sky Blues gain back-to-back wins against promo-ted sides, following their 2-0 victory at Al Shaab on the opening day three weeks ago. 

Belfodil stole the show with an eye-catching display, taking his two goals stylishly.

“When I had the first press conference with Belfodil I said he could be one of the best three foreign players in the UAE and now he is doing what I said,” said a beaming Garcia. 

“He has proved it now. I think he can target more goals in the next matches. We feel we have a good 
attack now.”

The Spaniard’s side looked assured and sleek in their dissecting of Dibba, at least in the opening 45 minutes.

With UAE internationals Bandar Al Ahbabi and Haboush Saleh adding end product to their undoubted talent, Garcia finally looks to have a talented squad in his own mould after an eighth-place finish during last term’s debut campaign.

It was the ingenuity of the two UAE players which led to all three goals, left winger Saleh’s delightful ball over the top to Larrivey leading to the opening goal after 11 minutes.

The ex-Celta Vigo man’s control was instant, his composure in the presence of three defenders assured. His pass to slip in Belfodil was perfect, the side-foot finish across the goalkeeper clinical.

His second was thanks to the brilliance of Al Ahbabi on the opposite flank. 

Mesmeric footwork saw him skip past his man and stand up a cross to the back post. Belfodil still had plenty to do, but slotted home cal-mly from an acute angle.

The second half was a disappointing spectacle. The home side did not having a sight of goal until the 83rd minute, Belfodil’s run ending in a block from goalkeeper Humaid Ali rather than his hat-trick goal.

Theo Bucker’s side were better after the break but rarely troubled Mohsin Al Hashmi, the UAE’s third choice goalkeeper, who thwarted former Ajman striker Boris Kabi with his legs on the hour mark.

Larrivey wrapped things up in injury time, beating the offside trap to collect Saleh’s insightful ball before rounding Ali for his second goal in two games.

Garcia added: “We played well. The three points was very important for us. We played as we planned. There was only 15 minutes where we didn’t play well.”

Having shown flashes of promise under the Spaniard in 2014/15, Bani Yas look an all-more-complete unit in the early stages of this campaign. 

They have been solidified by the shrewd signings of Australia midfielder Mark Milligan, as well as the speed of Belfodil and guile of Larrivey up top.

Combined with Emirati duo Saleh and Al Ahbabi, the Sky Blues’ front six look likely to pose plenty of problems. Sterner tests lie ahead, but Garcia’s new-look Bani Yas look far more able to stand up to the rigours of the AGL season.

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