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Al Ain beat Al Wahda to win etisalat Cup

Playing in heavy rain, Al Ain beat their traditional rivals Al Wahda 1-0 in the Abu Dhabi derby to win the inaugural etisalat Cup for professional clubs.

  • Jubiliant members and officials of the victorious Al Ain team with Shaikh Hazzaa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (centre) Image Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Action during the etisalat Cup final between Al Ain and Al Wahda at the Mohammad Bin Zayed stadium held on FriImage Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Supporters of Al Ain Club celebrate after the win against Al Wahda in the Etisalat Cup final at the Mohammad BImage Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, (centre), NationalSecurity Council advisor, Mohammad Khalfan Al Rumaithy(secImage Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Action from the final match of the Etisalat Cup betweenAl Ain and Al Wahda at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium,AImage Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Al Ain Club supporters celebrate their team's victory overAl Wahda in the Etisalat Cup final in Abu Dhabi Image Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Al Ain players celebrate with members of their coachingstaff after their victory in the Etisalat Cup final at Image Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Midfield action from the Etisalat Cup final between Al Ainand Al Wahda at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in AbImage Credit:Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Playing in heavy rain, Al Ain beat their traditional rivals Al Wahda 1-0 in the Abu Dhabi derby to win the inaugural etisalat Cup for professional clubs.

Shehab Ahmad scored the all important goal in the 74th minute of the encounter.

Al Ain still have the chance to win two more titles this season as they face Al Shabab next Monday in the final of the President's Cup and are placed third in the UAE Football League (UFL) with seven matches to go.

Al Wahda, on the other hand, have lost their only chance to win a title this season, but the Dhs1 million purse for the runners-up will surely ease their pain.

Al Ain earned Dhs3 million while the other two semifinalists, Al Jazira and Al Ahli received Dhs500,000 each.

The match was an organisational success story. About 30,000 spectators defied the rain and came to Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium to watch the two old rivals in action.

It was the biggest ever attendance for a local match in years and at a time when every one was complaining of the few numbers of spectators at UFL matches.

Al Ain and Al Wahda played a fast competitive match with Al Wahda being the best in the first half while Al Ain were the better in the second, especially when Valdivia and Ali Al Waheebi came in to strengthen the attack and press hard against Al Wahda.

The substitution resulted in a move initiated by Andre Diaz on the right flank, whose cross latched onto Valdivia.

Valdivia's back pass broke the Al Wahda defence, finding Ahmad who found the back of the net.

"Thanks to my colleagues that I was able to score the only goal of the match." Shehab said.

"It was not really important who scored as much as it was enough to lead our team to win the cup. We are determined to regard this victory as a start not an end because we still have the President's Cup and the UFL to win. We are dreaming of winning all three titles."

Match winners

Both Valdivia and Al Waheebi proved to be the match winners for Winfred Schaefer, the Al Ain coach.

However, Al Wahda coach Josef Hechlisberger started with Mahmoud Khamis, who played for the UAE against Saudi Arabia last Wednesday.

Hechlisberger then brought in Esmail Mattar in the dying minutes of the game as he tried to get his side to level the score.

Khamis created a number of chances but his colleagues — especially Ali Salah and Coly — squandered them with impunity.

"Many of our young colleagues have earned precious experience and proved their high quality," Mattar said.

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