Al Wahda picked up their first Arabian Gulf Cup point with a 1-1 draw at home to Sharjah, but it could have been so much more had Argentine frontman Sebastian Tagliabue not missed a second half penalty.
The hosts might have been severely depleted but manager Jose Peseiro will be disappointed his men didn’t convert their first point into a maiden win.
Even though Tagliabue’s awkward penalty could have won the game for his side, Peseiro refused to criticise his frontman, who had been Wahda’s standout performer.
The game was defined by two headers.
Leonardo Lima’s, arriving when he rose unmarked to nod in the opening goal after 11 minutes from a corner, was inexcusable from Wahda’s defensive standpoint.
The other, from the Maroons’ main man, was simply unstoppable. Mohamed Barghash’s cross was irresistible and the imposing South American arrowed his header past a motionless Rashid Ahmed.
Despite a first point, however, they still face an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stages.
Wahda were missing eight regulars in all, including seven with injuries, and their fans might have been fearing another was joining the crowded treatment room when Damian Diaz did not appear for the second half.
Peseiro said after the match that he hopes it is not serious and revealed he took off his talented Argentine playmaker just as a precaution.
His fellow countryman was Wahda’s best player but he was also guilty of wasting several guilt-edged chances, the best a 72nd minute penalty, which was kicked away by Sharjah stopper Rashid Ahmed.
“Sebastian has scored 10 penalties and missed one, which isn’t bad,” said Peseiro.
“Other players can take penalties but I like my strikers to take them and, until now, he has done well.
“If Sebastian scored we could have won so I am not happy because we didn’t win, but I am happy with the performance.”
On Diaz he said: “He felt some pain, someone kicked him but possibly it is no big problem. I preferred to substitute him because if it is a muscle problem he could maybe be out for a month, but I hope it is nothing serious.”
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