Al Wasl have moved up to second in the Arabian Gulf League after Ronaldo Mendes scored a late winner to clinch a 2-1 victory over Al Wahda at the Zabeel Stadium on Thursday night.
Fabio de Lima put the home side ahead on eight minutes, only for Wahda forward Ismail Matar to score the equaliser three minutes into the second half.
There was late drama as Wahda defender Hamdan Al Kamali was sent off for a second bookable offence towards the end of regulation time.
Wasl then seized the numerical advantage to score the winner off a free kick four minutes into added time, with Mendes’s shot taking a slight deflection off the head of Suhail Al Mansoor and into the back of the net.
Wasl opened the scoring from a counter attack when Caio Canedo picked up a long pass from Mendes before slipping it to De Lima to curl it into the back of the net from just inside the area.
Wasl goalkeeper Humaid Abdulla did well to tip the ball over from a dipping Matar free kick in the first half but he had no answer to a well-executed chipped shot from the Wahda captain after the break.
Wasl nearly regained the lead but Ahmed Al Shamsi’s free kick cannoned off the near post. However, just when the game appeared to be heading for a draw, Mendes struck from a 30-yard free kick.
The result took Wasl’s points tally to 36, five behind leaders Al Jazira, who play Kalba on Friday night at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium.
Al Ain meet Al Nasr in Friday’s late game and will have the opportunity to regain second spot.
Meanwhile, Wahda’s frustration continued as they will now miss the services of Al Kamali in Tuesday’s Asian Champions League play-off against Al Wehdat of Jordan.
In the early game, the Sharjah manager Jose Peseiro endured another frustrating night as his side were held to a scoreless draw by Al Dhafra at the Hamdan bin Zayed stadium.
It was their third 0-0 result in four games since the Portuguese took charge more than a month ago.
However, Sharjah can take some positives from the result and their overall performance under Peseiro as they have conceded only one goal, in last week’s 1-0 home defeat to leaders Al Jazira.
For Dhafra, it was their third successive draw after the 4-0 trouncing from Jazira on December 22.
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