Wahda shatter Shabab title hopes

20:45 05/04/2014
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Impressive fightback: Shabab (red) kept their top-four hopes alive with victory.

Sebastian Tagliabue’s second-half brace helped Al Wahda come from a goal down to seal a 2-1 win at Al Shabab that surely ends their hosts Arabian Gulf League title chances.

Shabab made most of the running in a goalless first-half and duly took the lead just over 10 minutes into the second as Edgar, who had earlier hit the bar, headed home.

That goal should have settled home nerves but instead they found themselves pegged back within seven minutes as Tagliabue scored from the penalty spot after Abdulla Faraj had fouled Mohamed Al Shehhi.

And remarkably the Argentine grabbed his 20th goal of the season in injury time, lobbing Shabab goalkeeper Ismail Rabee to secure an unlikely win.

Wahda were missing several key players in Dubai with Ismail Matar and Damian Diaz both forced to watch from the stands.

But it was the absence of defender Hussain Fadel that affected them most with Shabab spurning not one but two golden chances to take the lead in the first 10 minutes.

The game was less than four minutes old when Azizbek Haydarov’s deep cross found Adeilson unmarked, but twisting slightly, the Brazilian was unable to put his header on target.

Adeilson could at least claim the ball was a fraction behind him, six minutes later strike partner Edgar had no such excuse as he sliced a volley wide from just seven yards.

Wahda full-back Mohamed Saif had also seen a penalty appeal, following a push from Haydarov, turned down in an open start to the game, however, as the half wore on they struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities.

The visitors lacked width in the first 45 minutes, something their hosts certainly did not and before half-time marauding left-back Dawood Ali fired straight at Wahda keeper Adel Al Hosani inside the box before Carlos Villanueva forced an excellent save from the Wahda keeper following the full-back’s cut-back.

The script for the second half appeared to be the same as the first as Edgar headed against the bar, before his low cross was hacked clear by Eisa Santo under his own bar.

But from the resulting corner Shabab, and their Brazilian striker, finally got their goal as the 27-year-old rose highest to head home Faraj’s corner.

It was no more than the home side deserved, however, their lead would not last long as Faraj was penalised for a trip on Al Shehhi in the area that allowed Tagliabue to step up and fire home his 19th league goal of the season, from 12 yards.

Moments later Hamdan Al Kamali was lucky to only receive a yellow card as tugged back Villanueva as the midfielder threatened to run clear.

And it would be Wahda who had the final say as Tagliabue sealed a backs to the wall victory that sent the travelling support into rapture.

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