Al Wahda match-winner Balazs Dzsudzsak eager to deliver President’s Cup to club

Al Wahda winger Balazs Dzsudzsak says he is determined to etch his name in the club’s record books after sealing their place in the President’s Cup final.
Balazs Dzsudzsak of Al Wahda leaps for the ball during the Arabian Gulf League match between Al Wahda and Al Jazira on September 13, 2016. Courtesy AGL
Balazs Dzsudzsak of Al Wahda leaps for the ball during the Arabian Gulf League match between Al Wahda and Al Jazira on September 13, 2016. Courtesy AGL

DUBAI // Al Wahda winger Balazs Dzsudzsak says he is determined to etch his name in the club’s record books after sealing their place in the President’s Cup final.

The Hungary captain, who joined the Abu Dhabi side from Turkey’s Bursaspor last summer, grabbed the only goal of the game in Wednesday’s semi-final against Sharjah, when he scored a penalty in injury-time to secure victory.

Wahda are now aiming to capture the UAE’s most coveted cup for only the second time, having lifted the trophy in 2000. They have been runners-up five times, most recently six years ago in the 4-0 defeat to Al Jazira.

Despite it being his first season in UAE football, Dzsudzsak said he was acutely aware of the significance of the President’s Cup. Asked what it would mean to help Wahda lift the title, he said: “It’s everything. Because this week I had three meetings with the board members, with the president and everybody, not to put pressure on us, but just that they wanted to let me know what it means for the club, what it means for them and for me.

“Because if you’re in the final, if you win something, of course it’s better for your career. So I’m very happy that after eight months of being here we are in the final and that I can become a little part of the history with these guys. So I’m very, very proud to be here and very, very proud of the team.

“When I came here I said that I wanted to win something and I saw the capability of the team. So we’re ready for the final and we deserve it.”

What made Dzsudzsak’s feat on Wednesday even more impressive was that he is not typically Wahda’s designated penalty taker. However, manager Javier Aguirre decided to hand Dzsudzsak the responsibility, something he gratefully accepted, even knowing it could be virtually the last kick of the semi-final.

“It was very, very nice,” he said. “And very interesting, because it arrived in the last minute and also it’s not normal for our team this season to even get penalties. But that moment came in the semi-final in the last minute and was the first time the coach chose me to take it.

“So it was a very nice feeling. I was confident and knew how I was going to shoot, where I was going to shoot. And thankfully we are in the final.”

In the final, Wahda will face either Al Nasr, the 2015 President’s Cup champions, or Hatta, this season’s surprise package. The two contest the other semi-final on Thursday night, although Dzsudzsak​ said he has no preference as to which team he would rather play.

“We just have to look at ourselves,” he said. “Because we’re always looking forward, and now we don’t have anything to lose. We are in the final; we did our job. We just have to go there now and we have to win the cup.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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Published: April 20, 2017 04:00 AM

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