Denied twice early in the opening game of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010, Al-Wahda Sports Club’s Fernando Baiano finally got the goal his persistence deserved just before the interval. Put through on goal by Fahed Masoud, the experienced Brazilian beat Fiji international Simione Tamanisau at his near post to open his competition account and double Al Wahda’s lead, sparking wild celebrations amongst the partisan crown.
“There’s no doubt that this is a very important tournament,” the No9 told FIFA.com afterwards. “It’s the Club World Cup and I wanted to score so much that, if I hadn’t, I’d have been really annoyed. I’m happy now though and looking forward to adding to my tally in the next match.”
After a slow start to the game, Al Wahda broke the deadlock in the 40th minute via an unstoppable left-foot drive from Fernando Baiano’s countryman Hugo, with the former’s goal four minutes later leaving OFC O-League champions Hekari United with an uphill task. When Abdulraheem Jumaa made it 3-0 on 71 minutes to effectively end the contest, Al Wahda’s Austrian coach Josef Hickersberger was quick to withdraw Baiano from the fray.
“This is the first time we’ve played in the Club World Cup and there was lots of pressure on us. And I think Hekari United played very well, especially in the first half,” said the 31-year-old, who was the UAE top flight's second-top scorer in 2009/10. “It doesn’t matter to me whether I stay on the field for the whole game or I’m taken off, that’s a decision for the coach. The most important thing is that we beat a very strong team and are still in the tournament.”
What's more, the prolific front-runner’s goal was his first at the Mohammad Bin Zayed stadium since he joined Al Wahda from UAE rivals Al Jazira ahead of last season. “I spent two years playing at this ground so I’m happy to score here again,” said the well-travelled striker, who also lists fellow UAE 2010 participants SC Internacional do Porto Alegre among his former clubs. “I’m just pleased to have helped my team beat a strong Hekari United side. Now we can relax, look forward to our next game and try to perhaps go even further.”
Boasting a wealth of experience away from his homeland, having turned out for German outfit Wolfsburg and Spanish clubs Celta Vigo, Malaga and Murcia, the 31-year-old “settled really quickly here in the Emirates". He added: "I played in Germany for a year, in Spain for four years and for two years in the UAE, so I can play anywhere. I’m enjoying my time with Al Wahda and hope we continue to do well in this tournament.”
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” he concluded, reflecting again on his strike against Hekari. “My dream was to play in Europe and I did that, and I’m now in the UAE and have scored in the Club World Cup. I’ve already achieved a lot in my career and I hope that there’s still more to come.”