Al Ain boss Zlatko Dalic was happy to emerge unscathed from his team’s surrender against Bani Yas as he gave run-outs to key returning players ahead of next weekend’s 2016 AFC Champions League final opener.
The weakened Boss looked to be cruising to a 2-0 triumph in the Arabian Gulf Cup on Friday after winger Danilo Asprilla and striker Douglas struck, but were pegged back by late strikes from visiting playmaker Daniel Hernandez and target man Joaquin Larrivey.
This saw UAE goalkeeper Khalid Essa endure a busy night after recovering from a hamstring injury, while international left-back Mohammed Fayez was handed an hour to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday’s landmark clash at South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
“The result was not fair and we were supposed to win this match,” said Dalic, as he prepares to gain a second continental crown for the 2003 winners.
“We saw this as training for some of the players who were absent from participating in the previous period. The technical level shown by goalkeeper Essa was good as he made several saves, especially in the first-half.
“But it is wonderful that the players came out of this meeting without being injured.
“Mohammed Fayez participated for 60 minutes and was then replaced so as not to risk it. We also had to withdraw Caio so as to retain him for the match at Jeonbuk.”
There was joy for opposite number Jose Manuel Gomes, who avoided defeat for the first time in three matches since he took control of the crisis club.
“What was most important was the fact the team showed fighting spirit and proved they are capable of playing strongly against any team,” said the Portuguese coach of bottom-placed Bani, who resume in the Arabian Gulf League at leaders Al Wasl on Friday.
Ittihad Kalba star Ciel had no qualms about scoring a goal which stung ex-employers Al Ahli and has declared he would be happy to do the same again.
Ciel, 34, marked his return to Rashid Stadium on Friday night with a late header which earned a surprise 1-1 draw. The popular Brazilian forward had previously netted 17 times in 39 games on the way to claiming two Arabian Gulf League titles with the Red Knights from August 2013 to his release in June.
This latest effort at his old stomping ground had potentially-ruinous consequences for the hosts’ hopes of making the Arabian Gulf Cup’s semi-finals. But their former charge had no regrets when speaking post-match.
“This for me was very good, my friend,” Ciel commented. “I have come back to Dubai, I like Al Ahli too much.
“Now I play for Ittihad Kalba. I respect Al Ahli. But when I have a chance to score, I score my friend.
“Inshallah, if I have another chance in another game against then I will have concentration.”
Ciel proved an immediate success upon arrival from Al Shabab. He played a pivotal role in 2013/14’s double of the AG Cup and AGL, before a shocking double ankle fracture on opening day in September 2014 waylaid him for one-and-a-half years.
A knee injury for Lima saw him come back into the fold last January. He impressed when scoring eight goals in 14 appearances, but was not offered a new deal upon its expiry at the season’s close.
Such form saw him attract several suitors, with Ciel revealing a new name to go alongside his failed switch to Al Wahda.
He said: “The president [of Kalba] called for me, Al Jazira called for me. I spoke to the president and I go to Kalba. This is very important, to speak.
“It is very good for me. It was not just money, money.”
When asked about why he was not still at Ahli, a short reply followed of: “I do not know my friend, you tell [chairman Abdulla] Al Naboodah.”
Both Ciel and Kalba have struggled in the AGL during 2016/17.
The attacker has netted once in four games, while the promoted club have lived up to their yo-yo reputation with a solitary win and quartet of defeats.
“Now, I am feeling very good,” Ciel insisted when asked about his condition ahead of Saturday’s trip to on-song Al Wahda upon the top-flight’s resumption. “Before, I stopped for one-and-a-half years.
“I concentrate on my game and being together with my team. Inshallah, we will win.”
The AFC on Friday confirmed that Al Nasr will be barred from playing in the Asian Champions League in 2018 as a result of being found guilty of forging or falsifying Wanderley’s Indonesian passport.
Nasr’s ban is suspended for a probationary period of two years and will hand back all prize money from this year’s tournament, amounting to $340,000.
Wanderley, 28, was hit with a provisional 60-day ban by the AFC on September 2 after they ruled the documents used by the Brazil-born player when he scored twice on debut at El Jaish in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals were inauthentic.
But confusion remained after no official announcement about any further action was made by the continental governing body.
This was cleared up on Thursday as the Blue Wave claimed the summer buy from Sharjah’s absence will be brought to an end at the start of next month and that a $10,000 fine to the player plus a further $50,000 fine to the club had been issued.
Nasr initially claimed a 3-0 first-leg triumph in Doha, but this scoreline was reversed as punishment. The Blue Wave then lost the return match 1-0 to end their first foray into the ACL’s knockout stages.
Wanderley will not be able to immediately return to action on December 1 as he was removed from his club’s four-player foreign quota, which must contain one who holds Asian documents.
He can be included again at the expense of a current non-Emirati when the winter transfer market, provisionally, opens again on December 25.
تحتسب مدة عقوبة اللاعب [ فاندرلي سانتوس ] بأثر رجعي من تاريخ 2 سبتمبر 2016 وتنتهي العقوبة المقررة في 1 ديسمبر 2016.— AL Nasr Club (@ALNasrSC) November 10, 2016
الاتحاد الآسيوي يقرر إيقاف اللاعب فاندرلي سانتوس  أشهر مع غرامة مالية قدرها  آلاف دولار وغرامة أخرى على النادي قدرها  ألف دولار.— AL Nasr Club (@ALNasrSC) November 10, 2016
NB: The original story was published on November 10 and updated November 11 to reflect AFC’s ban on Al Nasr.