Al Ahli back to winning ways

DUBAI - Ten-man Al Ahli cruised to a crucial 1-0 victory over Bani Yas at the Rashid Stadium here on Thursday. After a goalless stalemate in the first half, Andre Pinga fired home the all-important goal of the ill-tempered clash at the hour mark.

By (Hisham Al Gizouli)

Published: Fri 24 Dec 2010, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:58 AM

UAE referee Abdulla Al Ajil sent off Al Ahli’s international Ismail Al Hammadi in the dying minutes of the game after he picked a second yellow card.

Apart from the possession, Al Ahli were by all means the better side on the pitch. Under David O’Leary, the Red Knights used a clear 4-4-2 formation, relying on attacks from the wings, with Andre Pinga running the centre of midfield.

The team started well and played good football, building possession from the back, and attacking with two creative players Ahmed Khalil and Bance with the helpful assistance of Andre Pinga and Ismail Al Hammadi from the centre of the field.

Though Pinga’s movements were visible, Ismail Al Hammadi didn’t make his appearance felt for most of the first half. Al Ahli’s Irish coach was apparently preoccupied with the battle for the midfield and he did a very good job in this regard.

Bani Yas’s magnificent midfielders Amer Abdul rahman, Mohammed Fawzi, Fawzi Basheer and Yousuf Jaber failed to feed their strikers Zeyab Awana and Andre Senghore, which meant the duo remained isolated upfront.

Luck also played a crucial role when Awana’s effort in the concluding stages of the first half was saved by an Al Ahli defender for a corner.

Towards the 34th minute, O’Leary pulled out Bance and substituted him with Faisal Khalil, who is making a quick return to form.

One of Al Ahli’s main sources of attack was to spread play to the wings, and putting in crosses for Ahmed Khalil to score from. And Bani Yas were only lucky to evade what could be a humiliating defeat had Faisal Khalil and his younger brother Ahmed Khalil struck from some of the many opportunities that came their way.

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