Holders Al Wahda eliminated after draw

Matt Jones - Editor 07:20 05/10/2016
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Suhail Al Mansoori opens the scoring for Wahda.

Conceding two goals in the last five minutes to throw away a 2-0 lead and draw 2-2 paints an apt picture of Al Wahda’s season so far.

For the first 89 minutes, Javier Aguirre would have been largely pleased with what he saw.

Wahda’s score of young talent shone, sublimely so for the opening goal which was scored by Suhail Al Mansoori.

Then, despite going down to 10-man following Mohamed Al Abdulla’s rash challenge on Agusto Cesar with 20 minutes remaining, the Clarets rallied and went 2-0 ahead through their talisman, Sebastian Tagliabue.

Then it all came crashing down in the final five minutes – substitute Ahmed Malalla swept home in the final minute of normal time before Hacine Ragued equalised for with the last kick of the game to knock the Arabian Gulf Cup holders out and leave Wahda winless after six games.

Aguirre immediately stormed off toward the tunnel – hardly able to believe what he had just witnessed.

“When they took the final throw-in the bench told me there were 10 seconds to go and they took 20-30 seconds to score,” bemoaned the Mexican.

“The time was over, it was past, but anyway we have to work. I feel sorry for the young players, they deserve to win. Big mistakes, big, big mistakes cost us two points but the players are young, they have to learn and that’s it.”

Counterpart Klaus-Dieter Pagels was simply delighted to escape with a share of the spoils – a result that leaves them with an outside chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

“For us it was a really lucky result because apart from maybe the first 15 minutes Wahda were the better side,” said the 67-year- old German.

“The game is never over until the referee blows the final whistle. We always learn too late in the defence but in the end we had good luck to score two goals.”

Emirates began brightly and Sebastian Saez rocked the crossbar from Abdulla Nini’s cross.

Sultan Al Ghaferi stung Ibrahim Avbdulla’s palms while Khalid Bawazir cracked the inside of the post as the hosts began to dominate.

Mohamed Al Akbari, last season’s AGL young player of the year, fed Bawazir who teed up Al Mansoori for a fine opener, the winger rounding Abdulla and netting from an acute angle.

Al Abdulla was perhaps unfortunate to see red in the 72 nd minute but, after escaping an assault on their own goal, substitute Tagliabue netted after being set clear by Bawazir.

Wahda were looking good but then came late drama. Malalla gave the Falcons hope before Ragued poked home from six yards when Wanda failed to deal with a hopeful cross into the box to send them soaring.

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