AFC Cup 2015 MD1 – Group A: Al Wahda 1-2 Al Nahda
Al Buraimi: Oman champions Al Nahda came from behind to begin their AFC Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Syrian counterparts Al Wahda in Group A on Tuesday.
Mohamd Jaafr opened the scoring for Al Wahda after 15 minutes at Buraimi Sports Complex only for Mauritanian striker Ely Cheikh to level the scores before half-time.
And with captain Salim Al Shamsi netting just after the hour mark, Al Nahda joined Jordan’s Al Wehdat at the top of the Group A table after they opened their campaign with a 5-1 win over Lebanon’s Salam Zgharta.
“We knew how to take advantage of Al Wahda’s mistakes and we scored two goals which were enough for us to get the three points. However, we still have a lot of things to work on and hopefully we will improve in the next matches,” said Al Nahda’s Portuguese coach Bernardo Tavares.
“Our players had a bad start in the match and this gave the chance to our opponents to take the lead.
“However, we made a good comeback and I hope that this match will give us a big push in our run in the competition.”
Al Wahda enjoyed a good start to the contest and opened the scoring after 15 minutes as Jaafr took advantage of a mistake by Al Nahda defender Abdulkhaliq Fayil before surging into the penalty area and beating goalkeeper Sulaiman Al Breiki.
Al Nahda, though, improved as the half progressed and were back on level terms four minutes before half-time as Cheikh followed up after Mansoor Al Naaimi’s penalty had been saved by Al Wahda goalkeeper Taha Mousa.
Al Nahda continued to dominate in the second half and created several scoring chances before finally completing the comeback seven minutes after the hour mark as captain Al Shamsi beat Al Wahda goalkeeper Mousa from outside of the penalty area.
And Al Wahda finished the game with 10 men as midfielder Mahmoud Khadouj was sent-off after clashing with Ali Al Busaidi.
“I want to thank the players for their performance today as they had a great match but there were some mistakes which eventually affected us and we lost the match. We should have got a better result tonight,” said Al Wahda coach Mohamed Shabrak.
“Everyone knows the situation in Syria and the team was not ready for the competition. I hope that in the next period we can prepare well and we can improve in order to get back into contention and fight to qualify from the group.”