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Abdullah Misfer plotting great escape

Win at Wasl levels strugglers with Shaab ahead of last five games

Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News Archives
Dibba Fujairah coach Abdullah Misfer
Gulf News

Dubai: Dibba Fujairah coach Abdullah Misfer says his side must replicate the spirit of Sunday’s 3-2 win away to Al Wasl in the remaining five games of the season if they are to avoid relegation from the Etisalat Pro-League.

Dibba temporarily pulled themselves level with third-from-bottom Al Shaab on 14 points with a shock victory at Zabeel Stadium – ahead of Al Shaab’s visit to Ajman on Monday. It took Dibba’s points haul in the second half of the season to 10, following surprise away wins at Al Dhafra, Al Ain and a draw at Al Jazira.

They must now better Al Shaab’s record over the remaining fixtures in order to escape the bottom two places, while hoping basement side Kalba, on 10 points, don’t catch up.

Misfer said: “We may be level with Al Shaab now, but we don’t know what they are going to do at Ajman. All we can do is try our best to keep fighting until the end. These were three very valuable points for us away at Al Wasl.”

Khalifa Abdullah put Al Wasl ahead after just 11 seconds before Mohammad Al Antaly equalised on the half-hour. Khalid Masoud put the visitors in front after the interval, but Abdullah completed his brace to restore parity for Al Wasl after the hour. Bilal Najaren then headed Dibba’s winner with ten minutes to spare.

“It was difficult to start the match losing but I’m pleased with how the team were able to get back in it after half-time,” said Misfer, who replaced the sacked Marcelo Cabo as coach in October.

Dibba have been forced to play their home matches 200km away in Al Ain this season due to Asian Football Confederation licensing criteria. Misfer said: “It’s been difficult to play our home matches on another field, and I started late, but we’ve tried our best to change things in the second round and it’s good to have taken ten points from this round, especially considering we only had four points from the first round.”

Those earlier four points came from an opening day 0-0 draw away to Dubai and a 2-1 home win over Al Wasl in November.

“Our psychology has been weak this season with the players expecting to lose, but we’ve been working on this mentality despite limited time,” admitted Misfer.

Al Wasl coach Eid Baroot, whose side were still ninth before Monday night’s games, said: “Dibba deserved to win because we were so slow to take advantage. We are working to clarify our mistakes but due to changes in defence this season our players haven’t been working together long enough.

“We need more points as we don’t want to be in the last half of the table, but after three very tough games [a 2-1 loss at home to Al Ain followed by 3-2 win and 1-1 draw away to Al Jazira and Al Wahda] we faced Dibba, who are well organised in defence. They took their chances, closed ranks and didn’t give us a chance. Everyone takes responsibility and will work towards improving results.”


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