Bani Yas' Spanish supremo Pedro Conde features in the AGL Picks of the Week

Matt Jones - Editor 20:17 29/09/2018
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Champions Al Ain remain perfect following four games, but it is Sharjah who top the Arabian Gulf League table as the only other team with a 100 per cent record after round four.

Al Wahda dropped points for the first time as they were defeated 4-2 at Abu Dhabi rivals Bani Yas, while things go from bad to worse for Al Nasr and under-pressure coach Ivan Jovanovic following a fourth defeat on the trot.

Here we pick out the best bits from the fourth week of action, plus a talking point.

GOAL OF THE WEEK: IGOR CORONADO (SHARJAH)

Coronado

Few would have foreseen a Milton Keynes Dons youth player graduate to such success in the Middle East, but the Brazilian has been brilliant for Sharjah – netting his fourth and fifth goals of the season in a routine 3-0 win over Fujairah.

His first was a stunner, with little seemingly to trouble the Wolves’ defence when the 26-year-old picked up possession out on the left flank. But he then skipped past Fahad Sabil and Ibrahim Al Mansouri before rifling in a right-footed rocket into the opposite corner, giving Fujairah stopper Saleh Rabei no hope.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: PEDRO CONDE (BANI YAS)

Pedro Conde

Two goals from the 30-year-old Spaniard took his season tally to four in four games as revitalised Bani Yas put in the result of the week with a 4-2 defeat of previously unbeaten title favourites Al Wahda.

After going a goal down, the ex-Atletico Madrid C player rifled the Sky Blues ahead when he picked the ball up after excellent work from Michael Ortega and volleyed unstoppably past Mohamed Al Shamsi.

He then collected Leroy George’s excellent through ball to finish delicately to put Bani 3-1 to the good. He also chipped in with a smart assist for Hamad Raqea to seal victory late on.

 

COACH OF THE WEEK: FABIO VIVIANI (ITTIHAD KALBA)

Fabio Viviani

Football is a fickle world and the AGL is particularly susceptible. Ittihad Kalba kicked out Jorvan Vieira after an opening day 6-2 defeat to Wahda – runners-up a year ago and one of the favourites for the title.

They brought back in former AC Milan midfielder Viviani for a second stint and he has ushered in a revolution. The 52-year-old has overseen three straight wins, including Friday’s eye-catching 3-1 triumph over big-spending Al Nasr.

The Tigers are roaring and making a mockery of their reputation as a team that constantly yo-yo between the top two tiers.

 

TALKING POINT: HOW MUCH TIME DOES IVAN JOVANOVIC HAVE?

Al Nasr boss Ivan Jovanovic

It was the feel-good story of the 2017/18 season – Jovanovic’s Nasr homecoming. After being harshly fired in October 2016, the Blue Wave failed to rise under the tutelage of former Italy supremo Cesare Prandelli.

The former Roma, Fiorentina and Valencia tactician was sacked midway through last season and Nasr re-hired the Serbian, who oversaw an uptake in form and a fourth-place finish. Much is expected after an impressive summer recruitment drive, but the Blue Wave find themselves at low tide, locked in lowly 13th following four straight defeats.

Jovanovic’s history with the club means he deserves time to turn it around. But just how much further do Nasr have to sink before Jovanovic is cast away again?

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