Hamadan al Kamali, right, the Al Wahda defender, clears the ball during an attack by Seongnam. The defender was badly at fault, along with his goalkeeper, for at least two of the South Korean goals.
Hamadan al Kamali, right, the Al Wahda defender, clears the ball during an attack by Seongnam. The defender was badly at fault, along with his goalkeeper, for at least two of the South Korean goals.

Errors at the back Al Wahda's undoing

Al Wahda 1 // Seongnam 4

Al Wahda Baiano 27'?
Seongnam Molina 04', ?Ognenovski 30', Choi Sung-kuk 71', Cho Dong-geon 81'
Man of the match Mauricio Molina (Seongnam)

ABU DHABI // Defensive naivety proved the downfall of Pro League champions Al Wahda last night as they missed the chance to meet European giants Inter Milan in the Club World Cup semi-finals.

Two first-half errors either side of a Fernando Baiano header gave the Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma a half-time lead, before Wahda's defence fell asleep twice in the space of 10 minutes in the second period to add a hint of humiliation to the end result.

"I am very disappointed because my team were not able to play their best," said Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda coach. "We have to admit Seongnam were the better side and deserved to win, even by this margin. We made too many defensive errors."

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, was among the 30,625 who saw the game at the Zayed Sports City Stadium. Hickersberger fielded an unchanged team from the side that beat Hekari United 3-0 in the qualifying play-off on Wednesday.

Seongnam had qualified for the tournament by winning the Asian Champions League, while Hickerberger's side finished bottom during the same tournament's group stages.

Additionally, in the two previous all-Asian Club World Cup battles, teams from East Asia emerged victorious twice.

Yet Wahda did themselves few favours last night when, in only the fourth minute and after already experiencing two narrow escapes, a breakdown of communication in the backline saw them fall a goal behind.

Adel al Hosani, the goalkeeper, and Hamdan al Kamali, the centre-half, - at 21, the two youngest players in the Emirati side - failed to deal with a through ball. With al Hosani rushing out to collect, al Hamdan attempted to clear, but the ball landed at the feet of Mauricio Molina and with a free goal to aim at, the Colombian made no mistake with is finish.

It took Wahda 20 minutes before having any meaningful attempt at goal, but they were soon looking more threatening - courtesy mainly of Ismail Matar and Fernando Baiano combining well. Still, it came as a surprise when, in the 27th minute, the big Brazilian brilliantly headed home from a Eisa Ahmed cross.

The lead did not last long. Three minutes later al Hosani and al Kamali were again found wanting. The goalkeeper came to collect a Molina corner before changing his mind, and Sasa Ognenovski, Seongnam's Australian captain, comfortably outmuscled al Kamali to power a header past the stranded al Hosani.

"It doesn't help us or help them, but [al Hosani and Al Kamali] are young, so at least they now have international experience and for sure they will do better in the future," Hickersberger said.

In the 71st minute, woeful defending left Choi Sung-kuk entirely unmarked on the edge of the area, and with only the keeper to beat. He did so with aplomb.

Ten minutes later, Cho Dong-geon added a fourth, capitalising on poor marking from a Molina free kick to emphatically header Seongnam through to a last-four meeting with Rafa Benitez's Inter.

Wahda, meanwhile, have another match to play, against Pachuca of Mexico in the fifth-place match at 6pm on Wednesday.

Said Hickersberger: "The third goal killed the match and the morale of my players."

Shin Tae-yong, the Koreans' coach added: "Wahda did well, but as a team, they are a little weak."

Zodi & Tehu: Princes Of The Desert

Director: Eric Barbier

Starring: Youssef Hajdi, Nadia Benzakour, Yasser Drief

Rating: 4/5


Edited by: Idries Trevathan
Pages: 240
Publisher: Hirmer Publishers
Available: Now


Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

How to vote in the UAE

1) Download your ballot https://www.fvap.gov/

2) Take it to the US Embassy

3) Deadline is October 15

4) The embassy will ensure all ballots reach the US in time for the November 3 poll


Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 750hp at 7,500rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 5,500rpm
Transmission: 7 Speed dual-clutch auto
Top speed: 332kph
Fuel consumption: 12.2L/100km
On sale: Year end
Price: From Dh1,430,000 (coupe); From Dh1,566,000 (Spider)

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)


Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

Representing UAE overseas

If Catherine Richards debuts for Wales in the Six Nations, she will be the latest to have made it from the UAE to the top tier of the international game in the oval ball codes.

Seren Gough-Walters (Wales rugby league)
Born in Dubai, raised in Sharjah, and once an immigration officer at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, she debuted for Wales in rugby league in 2021.

Sophie Shams (England sevens)
With an Emirati father and English mother, Shams excelled at rugby at school in Dubai, and went on to represent England on the sevens circuit.

Fiona Reidy (Ireland)
Made her Test rugby bow for Ireland against England in 2015, having played for four years in the capital with Abu Dhabi Harlequins previously.

Another way to earn air miles

In addition to the Emirates and Etihad programmes, there is the Air Miles Middle East card, which offers members the ability to choose any airline, has no black-out dates and no restrictions on seat availability. Air Miles is linked up to HSBC credit cards and can also be earned through retail partners such as Spinneys, Sharaf DG and The Toy Store.

An Emirates Dubai-London round-trip ticket costs 180,000 miles on the Air Miles website. But customers earn these ‘miles’ at a much faster rate than airline miles. Adidas offers two air miles per Dh1 spent. Air Miles has partnerships with websites as well, so booking.com and agoda.com offer three miles per Dh1 spent.

“If you use your HSBC credit card when shopping at our partners, you are able to earn Air Miles twice which will mean you can get that flight reward faster and for less spend,” says Paul Lacey, the managing director for Europe, Middle East and India for Aimia, which owns and operates Air Miles Middle East.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Profile Periscope Media

Founder: Smeetha Ghosh, one co-founder (anonymous)

Launch year: 2020

Employees: four – plans to add another 10 by July 2021

Financing stage: $250,000 bootstrap funding, approaching VC firms this year

Investors: Co-founders

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 


Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

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