Al Wasl boss Rodolfo Arruabarrena refuses to give up hope of winning the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) title, despite his side's poor performance on Friday which saw them draw 1-1 with Ittihad Kalba who are battling relegation.
The result left the Cheetahs in fourth place, 10 points behind leaders Al Jazira with only seven rounds left in the season.
Al Wasl should've secured maximum points at half-time. Fabio de Lima missed a penalty for the second game running in the 15th minute following a foul on Ronaldo Mendes in the Kalba 18-yard-box. The Brazilian has 20 league goals this season, second only to Al Jazira’s Ali Mabkhout, and his saved effort didn't bode well for his Golden Boot hopes.
The Dubai outfit made the breakthrough in the 56th minute. Caio charged down the left flank and pulled the ball back for Mendes to finish comprtably.
However, their elation was short-lived as Kalba equalised a minute later. Modibo Maiga brought down a ball forward on his chest before turning on the edge of the box and firing his strike into the back of the net.
“It was a match where we could win the three points and lose the three points,” Arruabarrena said in the aftermath of the encounter.
“We made too many mistakes in defence and, from one of those, they scored and drew the match. It’s true, Al Jazira have a significant gap, but there are seven matches still to play and 21 points available. Never we say this is the end.”
Goran Tufegdzic, the Kalba coach, on the other hand was pleased with the point.
“Our team really deserved this point. We kept to our strategy and had three chances one-against-one with their goalkeeper. For us, it’s a good result for the players’ confidence. Until now, for sure we’re not safe, but each point for us is big. To get one at Wasl, I have to be satisfied.”
In Friday’s other AGL match, Dibba held Al Nasr to a goalless draw with the latter thus climbing to sixth place above Al Dhafra. Dibba meanwhile remain in 12th spot.