Al Wahda can still make it

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Gulf News- Conceding three goals in the last ten minutes of their opener against Estighlal of Iran, clearly indicates that Al Wahda players lack physical fitness. Apart from this, their defensive drawbacks made Al Wahda pay dearly after squandering their lead thrice.

Football experts divide the matches into three-30-minute periods. They say that goals scored in the first half hour are a direct result of implementing strategy, goals in the second period are a direct result of combining strategy with physical fitness while goals in the third and last half hour are a result of pure physical fitness and endurance.

Al Wahda led the match thrice and each time they had to settle for a tie but in the last ten minutes, the two substitutions made by their coach Mansour Pourheidari, proved to be winners as Faraz Fatemi and Farzad Majidi combined to score two goals within three minutes paving the way for the big victory in the Asian Clubs Championship, West Zone.

Jo Bonfrere, the Al Wahda's coach, have tried his cards realising that the left flank of his defence was vulnerable.  He brought in Ismail Rashid for Basheer Saeed but mistakes continued and he could do nothing to save the match.

Despite their defeat Al Wahda have a good chance to reach the semifinals if they win their remaining two matches.

They should defeat Kuwait Club today in their second match and beat Nasaf Karsi on Sunday to take the second seat with Estighlal for the continent's semi finals against their counterparts from the East Zone.

Al Wahda played a good match on Wednesday. They were the better side in 80 minutes and had their gifted midfielder Mohammed Conteh played his usual game, today the team will surely emerge winners and collect their first three points in the competition which they host at Al Nahyan Stadium.

"We played an excellent match," Bonfrere said."We took the lead thrice but we committed defensive mistakes that led to our defeat. Our players should not have played a balanced game after taking the lead but they went all out for attack.

That was the main reason for our defeat. We will have to do better, result wise, in our remaining two matches," Bonfrere concluded. Bonfrere is expected to use his suspended midfielder Hayder Allo Ali who missed the first match thanks to a one match suspension.

Hayder will play a good role in the left flank which was subjected to tremendous pressure in the opener. Al Wahda's sweeper Abdullah Salim might miss the match tonight because of the injury he sustained on Wednesday which prevented him from completing the match. Salim Mohammed Salim is expected to play in his place.

Bonfrere have to ask his players to mark tightly Kuwait's striker Faraj Laheeb who scored a beautiful goal against the Uzbeks which earned his team a valuable point. Khalaf Al Salamah is another striker which Al Wahda should closely mark.

The first match of the day at 5:35 pm today will feature leaders Estighlal against Nasaf Karsi and from the two teams performances in their first encounters, Estighlal are expected to win the match and maintain their lead despite the fact that no match is won before its end.

But the Uzbeks will never be a push over. They have a good team that is physically capable of facing the Iranians and their tall strikers could easily benefit from the high crosses to score goals.

Expected line ups:

Nasaf Karsi: Gizimohuk Peter, Berdiev Ruzikul, Qambaraliev Bakhtiyor, Annamatov Bhadir, Rahkhmonqlov Shukhrtjon, Hasanov Numon, Kholmurodov Zafar, Namazov Bakhtiyor, Karaev Bottir, Haydarov Bahromjon and Hakimov Rustam.

Estighlal: Parviz Boroomand, Mahammad Khoramgah, Sirous Dinmohammad, Mahdi Hashemini, Mahmoud Fekri, Yadollah Akbari, Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh, Alireza Vahedi, Mohammad Navazi, Alireza Akbarpour and Ahmed Momenzadeh.

Al Wahda: Ramadan Mallullah, Abdul Aziz Ahmed, Al Hay Jumaa, Salim Mohammed, Abdul Rahim Jumaa, Hayder Allo Ali, Abdul Salam Jumaa, Fahad Massoud, Mohammed Conteh, Fawzi Al Ruwaisi and Mohammed Salim Al Enazy.

Kuwait: Ahmed Haji, Sami Al Shishini, Guye Baye Ndiaja, Razzam Alabbasi, Eid Al Muttairi, Jarah Al Atigi, Faisal Al Refaie, Badr Al Kandari, Ahmed Al Shammari, Khalaf Al Salamah and Faraj Laheeb.


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