Ederson Alves’s double points Al Wasl in the right direction

Gabriel Calderon would not rule out the possibility of an Arabian Gulf League title. His opposite number, Fetthi Jebel, might well have been mulling the possibility of relegation.
Ederson Alves saved Al Wasl with a pair of goals against Ajman on Tuesday night. Satish Kumar / The National
Ederson Alves saved Al Wasl with a pair of goals against Ajman on Tuesday night. Satish Kumar / The National

AJMAN 1 AL WASL 2

Ajman - Al Antaly 76’

Al Wasl - Ederson 34’, 65’

Man of the match - Ederson Alves (Al Wasl)

AJMAN // Gabriel Calderon would not rule out the possibility of an Arabian Gulf League title. His opposite number, Fetthi Jebel, might well have been mulling the possibility of relegation.

The extremes in mood were understandable after Al Wasl defeated Ajman 2-1 on Tuesday night at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium.

It was the hosts’ fourth successive defeat. Meanwhile, Wasl have won 11 points from six league matches since Calderon took over as manager, and his men are now in the upper half of the table, seven points back of leaders Al Wahda.

“I am very happy with the team because, after seven weeks here, this team has changed much,” Calderon said. “Mabrouk to the players as they are doing a very good job.”

Calderon said the idea of Wasl competing for the championship is still a strong possibility, though he couched his words carefully.

“I think I play all matches as it’s the final match … next match is the final, and so on,” he said. “I do not think five months ahead.

“I see all the matches as final, [but] everything is possible.”

The Brazilian Ederson Alves scored both Wasl goals, and the Dubai club might have had more, given the number of shots they put on target. They were particularly disappointed when a goal by Fabio Lima was ruled offside in what appeared to be an erroneous call in the second half.

Calderon was furious on the byline, but mentioned later that the call was part of the game. It did not change how Wasl played in the last 10 minutes.

“No, not at all,” he said. “Since the pass was made, it was an easy goal, but this is football. After that, the possibility of scoring four or five goals would depend upon opportunities, so it is difficult for us.”

Wasl were strong at the back, but fatigue kicked in with 20 minutes remaining and the substitute Mohammed Ahmed was able to pull one back for Ajman from one of the long balls they had been playing all night, hoping to break Wasl’s rigid defensive structure.

The goal brought with it a sense of encouragement for Ajman to possibly tie the game. Multiple shots were fired at Yousuf Abdullah’s goal in the dying minutes, but he managed to protect his goal with some strong saves.

The mood at Ajman, meanwhile, is less bright. Should they lose their upcoming fixtures against Emirates and Fujairah, the likelihood of the men in orange remaining in the top flight of UAE football will shrink significantly.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 9, 2014 04:00 AM

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