Keeper Abdullah Kaabi won the GCC Champions League final for Bahrain’s Al Muharraq on Sunday stopping Mubarak Hassan’s sudden death penalty to beat Al Wasl at Zabeel Stadium 5-4 on penalties, reversing a 3-1 first leg deficit from last Tuesday’s first leg to tie 4-4 in normal time.
Wasl had the worst possible start going a goal and a man down on nine minutes. Keeper Majed Nasser was the culprit, red carded for kicking Ebrahim Ali and head butting Esmail Abdullatif, as they attempted to collect the ball from the back of net, after Muharraq’s opener.
This needless reaction to Jamal Braho’s header from a Hussain Ali left cross was what set the tone to an ill-tempered evening, as Rashid Ali came on for Khalifa Abdullah to make up for Nasser’s self-imposed exile.
The fracas followed closely on from Juan Olivera’s seventh minute miss, when the Uruguayan blasted a free shot from Darwish Ahmad’s right cross that was fumbled by Saleh Abdul Humaid.
Mariano Donda found himself out of options from a run on 43 minutes, but despite being encircled by defenders on the edge of the area he toe-poked a lob that Abdullah Kaabi had to tip over the bar.
Wasl found their equaliser just two minutes later when a ball worked up to the left corner was played back to Yassir Salem on the edge of the area to strike a neat finish into the top left.
Muharraq hit a second on 51 minutes when Waheed Esmail fell trying to stop Saeed Mahmoud’s through ball to Esmail Abdullatif. Abdullatif then punished the mistake rounding Rashid Ali to put the Bahraini’s in control.
Al Wasl’s implosion from last Tuesday’s 3-1 first leg lead in Bahrain was finalised on 65 minutes when Saleh Abdul Humaid’s freekick into bottom right, teed up by Saeed Mahmoud, set the second leg score to 3-1 Muharraq, making it 4-4 on aggregate.
In the frustration Rashid Eisa put Wasl down to nine men on 79 minutes, when fouled by Rashid Abdulrahman, he stood to head butt Saeed Mahmoud before being promptly sent off.
Muharraq went painfully close to winning it on 90 minutes when Abdullatif’s right cross was headed over by Mohammad Abdullah before the call for penalties.
Hussain Ali, Mohammad Abdullah, Rashid Abdul Rahman and Esmail Abdullatif all converted for Muharraq from spot kicks with the exception of Saleh Abdul Humid who blasted their second over.
Wasl were on course after successful penalties from Juan Olivera, Mariano Donda, Eisa Ali and Darwish Ahmad. But Juan Mercier hit their fourth over.
Tied at 4-4 on penalties, Muharraq won in sudden death after Diego Da Silva hit bottom left for the visitors while Mubarak Hassan’s wild run up was saved low to his left by cup hero Abdullah Kaabi.