The 6th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament came to a fitting close on Wednesday night with Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) defeating Al Bahri on penalties in a wildly-swinging final of the NAS Futsal Championship.
With His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai International Marine Club, watching from the stands along with more than 5,600 fans who had crammed the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex, EDI and Al Bahri put up a spectacular show for them, with the latter scoring an equaliser in the final second of extra time – the hero being their goalkeeper Mayed Ali Al Maeeni – to force the final into penalties where EDI prevailed 3-2.
Emirates Driving, of course, will consider themselves deserving champions for they were in the driving seat for most of the game. They made a blazing start, taking a 3-0 lead in the first 16 minutes with goals from Williams Oliver Do Nascimento, Sabry Jamil and Abdulkarim Jamil.
Al Bahri, however, fought back to level the scores before the end of the first half, thanks to goals from Essam Alla Shamkh, Hamad Al Shamsi and Helal Al Jaberi.
A stunning goal by Sabry Jamil put EDI back in the lead in the 25th minute, but Mohammed Abdessamad made it 4-4 in the 32nd minute and, despite frantic efforts in the tense closing minutes, there was no addition to the score-line in regulation time.
In extra time, EDI once again took an early lead, through Do Nascimento in the 2nd minute, and looked to be cruising towards victory until Al Maeeni stunned their fans into silence with the equaliser in the final second of 10 minutes of extra time.
Emirates Driving, however, were not be denied in the ensuing penalties and their emotions flowed freely as they received the winner’s trophy from Sheikh Mansoor.
“I think this is the best final we’ve had in the history of the tournament,” said EDI’s Abdulkarim Jamil, who was winning the title for the third time. He had earlier won with Fuhood Zaabeel in 2014 and then with Al Taher last year.
“Credit to Al Bahri for the way they kept fighting back, especially from 0-3 down in the first half. I am really going to cherish this medal and this match for the rest of my life.”
Sheikh Mansoor also presented the individual winners with their trophies. In addition to the gold medal, Do Nascimento also picked up two individual awards – Best Foreign Player and the Golden Boot for his 10 goals in the tournament. Ahmed Abdullah of Al Taher was named the Best Emirati Player of the tournament, while Hassan Ali Al Hantoobi picked up the Best Goalkeeper award.
Sheikh Mansoor was accompanied by His Excellency Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police and chairman of the tournament’s Organising Committee, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Hassan Al Mazrouei, Director of the NAS Sports Tournament.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the 2018 Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament saw more than 5,000 athletes take part across 11 different sports.
This year, the tournament also had an international flavour with a five-a-side futsal competition taking place in the Egyptian capital Cairo and an eight-team volleyball tournament being held in Amman, Jordan.
Major General Al Marri congratulated Sheikh Hamdan for the success of the tournament and said: “This NAS Tournament is not just a sports tournament, but it is a social event that brings together people from different communities. We saw more than 5,000 participants take part this year in 11 different sports, and we had a great number of fans present here at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex every night.
“I congratulate all the winners and thank the fans, and also all the staff and the members of different committees who have worked tirelessly to make this tournament a success.
“The sixth edition of the NAS Sports Tournament has surpassed the past years and become a huge success, not just in terms of the number of participants and fans we attracted here in Dubai, but also because the tournament crossed our borders for the first time and was staged in Egypt and Jordan as well.
“We also launched the Sports Fingerprint Award as one of the initiatives of this tournament. So we are really pleased with what we have achieved this year and we hope to achieve even greater success next year.”
Final: Emirates Driving Institute beat Al Bahri 3-2 on penalties (5-5)
3rd Place: Dubai Police beat Al Taher 5-2
Top Goalscorer: Williams Oliver Do Nascimento (EDI)
Best Foreign Player: Williams Oliver Do Nascimento (EDI)
Best Emirati Player: Ahmed Abdullah (Al Taher)
Best Goalkeeper: Hassan Ali Al Hantoobi (EDI)
Stung by Al Bahri in the opening match of their campaign, defending champions Al Taher bounced back in style on Thursday night, blanking Inthar 5-0 to book their place in the quarterfinals of the NAS Futsal Championship, where they will meet Fuhood Zaabeel in what should be the match of the last eight.
An own goal five second from time had seen Al Taher crash to a heartbreaking 1-2 loss in the opening match and, needing to win this match to make it the knockout stages as the second team from Group C behind Al Bahri, they responded in true champion style.
Led by their diminutive Iranian captain Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh, Al Taher were in complete control as a brace from Brazilian Jeferson Luis and a goal each from Hassanzadeh, Ahmad Abdallah and Rashid Obaid booked their ticket for the quarterfinals.
“We knew what our target from this match was, and we came out and got the job done,” said Jeferson. “Now we are through to the quarterfinal, but that is only the first of our goals for the tournament.
“We know we will face a really tough opponent, but if we play to our potential, at the level we know we are capable of, we can go very far in this tournament.”
Myself, H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, attended the running race Competitions at the NAS Sports Tournament.🏃🏻♂️🏃🏻 pic.twitter.com/8FomT6yrNI— Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed (@PrinceSheikhH16) May 22, 2018
Fuhood Zaabeel, meanwhile, looked in ominous form once again as they defeated Leader Sport 4-0 to take the top position in Group D, with Brazilian Taynan Da Silva scoring two for them, and Douglas Junior and Ahmed Al Hosany one each.
Earlier, in the opening match of Thursday night, Emirates Driving Institute rode roughshod over The Emperor, drubbing them 16-1 to top Group B and book a quarterfinal clash with The Storm.
Williams Oliveira Do Nascimento scored four goals for Emirates Driving, while his Brazilian compatriots Thiago Martins and Rangel Taian struck three apiece in the rout. Mohammed Abdalla Salem found the net twice, while Abdulkarim Jamil, Hashem Shah, Habib Gholoom and Jameel Mansoor scored one each.
“Our target was to win this match and go through as the top team from the group,” said Salem Jameel, the coach of Emirates Driving. “We were determined to win because, as group toppers, we would avoid Dubai Police in the quarterfinal, and they are one of the strong contenders for the title.
“Of course, The Storm are a strong unit as well and we will have to be at the top of our game if we want to reach the semi-finals. Yes, we have just scored a huge win, but we have not won anything yet. So we need to remain focused and keep this momentum going.”
With the little Jiu Jitsu champion Salama Al Ali, after the opening ceremony of NAS Sports Tournament 2018. I love you kid! pic.twitter.com/NvjozclCcg— Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed (@PrinceSheikhH16) May 21, 2018
The Storm, meanwhile, are struggling with injury problems and will be missing the services of their two foreign players – Serbia’s Marko Peric and Brazilian Daniel Mendonca – in Sunday’s quarterfinal clash with Emirates Driving.
“Tests have revealed that the two players are suffering from cruciate ligament injuries,” said Ahmed Al Taher, the manager of The Storm team. “We would have replaced those players to improve our chances of competing in the knockout stages of the tournament, but unfortunately, the rules do not allow for the replacement of injured players once the tournament has started.
“So we are left with only one foreign player Leonardo Da Rosa, and we will try to do the best we can in the quarterfinals.”
Emirates Driving Institute beat The Emperor 16-1 (Group B); Al Taher beat Inthar 5-0 (Group C); Fuhood Zaabeel beat Leader Sport 4-0 (Group D).
Saturday: Dubai Police vs MKS (10pm); Al Bahri vs Sport 4 All (11.30pm)
Sunday: Emirates Driving Institute vs The Storm (10pm); Fuhood Zaabeel vs Al Taher (11.30pm)
Al Ain and UAE playmaker Abdulrahman was named Best Emirati player while Al Wahda’s top-scorer Tagliabue was named Best Foreign Player.
Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Essa won the Golden Glove award while Hussein El Shahat was voted Fans’ Player of the Year. Al Ain’s domination continued with Zoran Mamic collecting the Best Coach award after steering the Garden City outfit to the AGL and President’s Cup double.