Al Wahda sweat on returning Taglibue and Al Hosani for Al Ahli game

Tagliabue was granted permission to visit his sick brother in Argentina, and Al Hosani is back in the side after serving a one-match ban for receiving three yellow cards.
Sebastian Tagliabue, right, had gone home to Argentina and has not practised with Al Wahda for a brief while. Christopher Pike / The National
Sebastian Tagliabue, right, had gone home to Argentina and has not practised with Al Wahda for a brief while. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // After their first defeat in 20 Arabian Gulf League games, Al Wahda will be tested again when they face defending champions Al Ahli tonight at the Al Nahyan stadium.

Sebastian Tagliabue, Wahda’s leading scorer with six goals, and goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani return to action after missing the last game against Al Ain, which they lost 4-0 at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.

Tagliabue was granted permission to visit his sick brother in Argentina, and Al Hosani is back in the side after serving a one-match ban for receiving three yellow cards.

“We have trust in all our players, but it is also good to have the best players available for the best games,” said Jose Peseiro, the Wahda coach.

“Sebastian was away and has not trained or played during this time. We will see whether he is fit enough to play the entire game.

“Having said that, we may need more than the best players to win against a team like Ahli.

“They haven’t had a good season so far by their own high standards, but they can surely reach that level at any time, perhaps in this game.

“For us, it is one difficult game after another. However, we knew this was coming and are prepared for it. We would like to think we won’t repeat the mistakes we made in the last game.

“In a way, we feel the result against Al Ain was a wake-up call for our players. We can hopefully get back to winning ways.”

Ahli are under pressure after having slipped to eighth in the AGL table, seven points off Wahda at the top.

Speculation around coach Cosmin Olaroiu’s future has started, with rumours the Romanian has received a lucrative offer to lead the Saudi Arabian national team at next month’s Asian Cup.

Ahli bounced back after two successive defeats with a 2-0 win over the bottom team Kalba in the previous round of matches.

A loss to Wahda may mean their chances of retaining the title are realistically over.

apassela@thenational.ae

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Published: December 14, 2014 04:00 AM

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