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Nasser presence in Al Wasl stands spurs speculation.

Dubai Kuwaiti forward Yousuf Nasser was spotted in the stands for Al Wasl's 3-0 destruction of Al Wahda in the Etisalat Cup third round on Friday night, prompting speculation that the 20-year-old is to fill the Asian player's void left by Omani Mohammad Shaiba.

Al Wasl won their first game back at the newly refurbished Zabeel Stadium, in front of a healthy crowd of 5,059, thanks to a Hassan Ali double assist which killed the game inside 15 minutes. Ali set up Juan Manuel Olivera on three minutes with a through ball sloppily converted by the Uruguayan striker.

In an almost identical tap onside, Ali then supplied Rashid Eisa for the second on 14 minutes. Al Wahda's Mubarak Hassan was red-carded on 45 minutes for an off-the-ball trip on Eisa Ali, to leave the visitors down to 10 men. Then on 91 minutes, Eisa Ali made it 3-0 with a sweet hit from just outside the area and into the top right corner after Donda had put it out to the captain in space on the left.

Maradona admitted of Nasser in the crowd: "We're keeping an eye on him. I've spoken to Marwan Bin Byat about reinforcing the team with four players to be able to compete. I'm looking at a centre-back, a winger and a striker, as well as -- of course -- the Asian player."

Nasser has represented Kuwait from U-17 level since 2006, making his national senior debut in 2009 with 17 senior international goals to date. He's also played for Kazma since 2009. Other Asian options were said to be fellow Kuwaiti Bader Al Mutwa of Al Qadsia or Uzbekistan's Aleksander Geynrikh. Maradona added of the game, which could arguably have seen more goals in Al Wasl's favour: "We played the way we are used to playing. We had a gameplan and stuck to it. [Edson] Puch did very well on the left wing, while Olivera performed likewise up front. I was very comfortable as we were in total control of the game. Nowadays in football, 3-0 is a very good scoreline."

Tough game

Al Wahda coach Josef Hickersberger said: "We expected a tough game and a difficult task and it turned out to be a very difficult game for us. We lost by three goals, which is a lot, and we have to be content with this result as we were two goals -- and one player -- down at half-time. Our main objective was not to concede four, five or six goals. But, of course, I know that -- given the way we started, defended and tried to get back into the game -- it wasn't working."

"The players -- whether we are one or two goals down -- at least have to show discipline and character. You can lose, but you cannot lose a player to a red card like Salem Saleh's -- I hope that we will not miss so many national team players for the next phase of Etisalat Cup matches as eight players is a little bit too much for any team in this league."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 2, 2011
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