Miroslav Djukic’s insufferable wait for a first win at Al Shabab, somehow, has continued.
With the clock ticking towards 90 minutes and Hatta offering zero attacking threat, a swipe of 20-year-old winger Mohammed Jumaa’s right boot earlier in the second half appeared set to secure a blessed three points at the seventh time of asking.
Yet fresh rigour lay in store for the ex-Valencia coach, in a game which had also featured a plethora of glaring misses from his team.
Sometime UAE full-back Manei Mohamed inexplicably chose to barrel into winger Mahir Jasem just inside the area when challenging for a header. This clumsiness allowed cool Brazilian forward Samuel Rosa to smash in from the penalty spot for a seventh goal in 19 Arabian Gulf League games.
The look of dejection on Djukic’s face was telling as the final whistle soon followed. The choice of the Hawks to end a two-year spell out of management appears more foolhardy by the match.
For ninth-placed Hatta, only mathematical safety from relegation awaits from a solid debut campaign in the professional era. Boss Gjoko Hadzievski will hope this enlivening result builds confidence ahead of a President’s Cup semi-final against Al Nasr in less than a fortnight’s time.
With defeat in last weekend’s Arabian Gulf Cup final to Al Ahli still fresh and attackers who had accounted for 13 of 20 top-flight goals in Henrique Luvannor and Tomas De Vincenti out of the XI, the omens weren’t promising for Shabab.
The duo’s absences were keenly felt in the 44th minute as winger Rashed Hassan and centre-back Mohammed Marzooq missed from point-blank range in quick succession. Djukic would have again been left to bemoan his luck immediately after the break as fallen UAE flyer Rashed Essa blasted at busy visiting goalkeeper Obaid Raihan.
But an apparent turning point in this game and the Serbian’s wretched reign was soon to arrive. A lofted free-kick caused problems Hatta were unable to solve, Jumaa lashing into the corner to break his season’s duck at the 13th time of asking.
This view did not account for Mohamed’s stupidity. Rosa’s rocket arrowed into the top corner from 12 yards to stab another dagger into Djukic’s heart.
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