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Estighlal, Karsi grab semifinal berths

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Gulf News- Estighlal of Iran and Nasaf Karsi of Uzbekistan reached the semifinals of the Asian Clubs championship representing the West Zone as Jo Bonfrere, the Al Wahda's coach, led the UAE football to another disastrous results.

The Iranians led the competition with seven points from three matches after beating Kuwait Club 3-0 in the last 15 minutes of the match at Al Nahyan Stadium yesterday.

Alireza Akbar scored the first goal 30 minutes after the breather. Faraz Fatemi added the second goal with a fierce header 3 minutes later.

Kuwait's captain Eid Al Mutairic scored on own goal five minutes before the end to seal the result for the Iranians.

Kuwait finished third with two points.

Hosts Al Wahda took lead in the match. Mohammed Salim Al Enazy put them ahead after 50 seconds with a beautiful header following a cross by Fahad Massoud from the right flank.

Al Wahda dominated the match but 20 minutes into the game, it was clear that there was a conflict between Bonfrere and his players.

The Dutchman wanted to make a change by introducing Ismail Matar while the team was leading while his custodian Ramadan Mallulah was being treated for injury.

Most of the players showed their displeasure with the coach's intention and Matar retreated to the substitutes bench as Bonfrere showed his anger by leaving the bench and going to the dressing room.
Bonfrere returned to the substitute bench to finish what might be his last task for Al Wahda.

The hosts captain Abdul Aziz Ahmed made a big blunder five minutes before the break when he lobbed back the ball over his advancing custodian to score an own goal levelling the score for his Usbek  guests.

Hasanov Numon, the Uzbek's midfielder, silenced the stadium with a powerful 35–yard shot that went to the for upper corner of the net for the winner in the last minute of the first half.
The hosts did not recover from that shot till the end of the match.

Bonfrere made his change and Matar Started the second half replacing Mohammed Conteh.

Although the hosts dominated the whole second half, they failed to score because of haste, lack of concentration and mostly because they used high long balls to reach their opponent's net.

The Uzbek players were taller and they found no difficulty in clearing.

As expected, Bonfrere refused o come to the press conference after the match. Only ten days ago, Bonfrere returned from Riyadh after leading the UAE national team to the last standing of the tournament.

Yesterday, Al Wahda finished last with a single point having failed in two matches to defend their lead.

The team that was once the most entertaining group in the UAE's of league have played dull matches because of their coach's defensive 4:4:2 strategies.

The quarterfinals of the Asian Clubs Championship might be the last straw that broke the coach's back after being booed by Al Wahda fans yesterday.


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