Javier Aguirre credits Khalil Ibrahim and luck in Al Wahda’s President’s Cup win
ABU DHABI // In the middle of the post-match news conference, a few Al Wahda players sneaked in to surround their manager Javier Aguirre, sprinkling a bottle of water on him, doing a little jig and chanting his name.
The display of affection by Hamdan Al Kamali, Balazs Dzsudzsak, Sultan Al Ghafri, Ahmed Al Akberi and Tareq Ahmed took everyone in the room by surprise.
Aguirre said he would cherish the moment after leading Wahda to the President’s Cup title on Friday night with a 3-0 victory over Al Nasr at Zayed Sports City Stadium.
“That’s an impromptu reaction on the reward at the end of the season, and of course, every trophy I win will stay in my heart,” Aguirre said when asked for his reaction at the post-match news conference incident.
Speaking on the game itself, he said: “The first half was really tight. It was a tactical game and both teams had chances to score.
“We had to regroup during the break and the players put in all their efforts in the second half.”
Wahda scored three unanswered goals in the second half with Balazs Dzsudzsak on target twice, the first from a spot kick. Tareq Ahmed struck inbetween as Wahda proved too much for 10-man Nasr.
Aguirre said the turning point was Khalil Ibrahim’s arrival at the hour to replace Ahmed Al Akberi.
“Khalil’s movements were the key,” he said. “He was really quick and with Tareq Ahmed they opened the field.
“After that, the red card and the penalty gave a us a big advantage.
“However, in a cup final, you need good performances and some luck.
“Tonight, we had both.”
Aguirre dedicated the cup to the club’s fans who came in numbers to be behind their team on the night.
“We had the fans behind us as always, and I want to dedicate this cup to them,” he said.
“They have been a massive motivation to us throughout the season.”
Aguirre also stated one of his tasks when taking up the job last summer was to use his experience to improve the young players from the Wahda academy.
“Today I’m proud to say we had about 12-13 young players in the first team,” he said.
“They need to be given more chances to play in games like this [tonight] and the Asian Champions League.”
When asked about his future at the club, he said: “I have a meeting with the club president after tomorrow.
“I have had some offers from China and in America, but I told my agent to wait until I have finished my job at Wahda.”
Al Nasr’s Dan Petrescu said it was one of his worst days of his life as a manager.
“Some small moments changed the game for us,” the Romanian said.
“The red card and the penalty killed the game for us but, however, after that we had some big chances to score.
“Even in the first half, we had the chances to score first. We gifted them a goal and then the game was over.”
Petrescu said his team suffered from injuries throughout the season and he had three players on the pitch playing under pain-killing injections on the night.
“At half time, three players were given injections to continue playing, the goalkeeper [Ahmed Shambih], Fawaz Awana and Ahmed Khamis,” he said.
“All this made it difficult for us.
“I’m sorry for the fans, for the club and the players.”
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Updated: July 21, 2017 07:00 PM