AGL talking points: Valdivia’s costly gesture on Wahda debut, no more Bur Dubai draws please

Ahmed Rizvi offers his thoughts on the biggest talking points from the Arabian Gulf League including Jorge Valdivia's less than gracious return.

Jorge Valdivia's Al Wahda debut was marred by a "joke" gesture he made which has resulted in a two game ban. Mostafa Reda / Al Ittihad
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Ahmed Rizvi offers his thoughts on the biggest talking points from the Arabian Gulf League including Jorge Valdivia’s less than gracious return.

Valdivia’s costly gesture

If Jorge Valdivia’s inappropriate gesture, aimed towards some “Brazilian friends” in the stands, was banter, or a “joke” as he described it, then it has been a very costly one.

The incident took place at half time during Al Wahda’s 1-0 home defeat to Al Shabab last week. Valdivia, who was making his eagerly awaited debut for Wahda, was hit with a Dh15,000 fine and a two-game ban, which means he will not be available for Friday night’s Abu Dhabi derby at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium against Al Jazira.

Although Wahda coach Javier Aguirre tried to downplay the Chilean playmaker’s absence ahead of the match, the real question is: why would a professional, one who has appeared at the biggest tournaments in the world, indulge in such negative behaviour, knowing the consequences? Not ideal.

Not another draw, please

Jazira v Wahda is not the only derby on the Arabian Gulf League schedule this weekend. Two weeks after a drab, goalless draw in the Arabian Gulf Cup, Al Wasl and Al Nasr will renew their rivalry on Saturday with Bur Dubai bragging rights at stake.

Success in the derby has been scarce for Wasl in recent times with their last win coming in the 2008/09 season. And if they play like they did in the last match, they could have to wait even longer.

Fans of both teams, however, will be hoping for a result, at least, because the last four matches between the two sides have ended in draws, three of them 0-0 affairs.

Beware Baniyas

Luis Garcia’s Baniyas seem to be flying under the radar at the moment, but that might not be the case for long. With the inclusion of Royston Drenthe, a former Real Madrid player and Netherlands international, Baniyas have assembled an attacking trio that looks as good as any in the AGL.

Drenthe made all the right noises at his introduction to the local media earlier in the week. Now, let us hope he can make a better impression with the fans than his Dutch compatriot Ryan Babel has so far managed at Al Ain.