Al Ain keep hopes alive, Al Ahli lose

Argentine striker Jose Sand’s last-gasp strike earned Al Ain a narrow 2-1 victory over fighting Sharjah.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

Published: Mon 18 Jan 2010, 12:13 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:06 AM

Al Ain and Sharjah players fight for the ball during their match at Shaikh Khalifa binZayed Stadium in Al Ain. Al Ain won the match 2-1.—KT photo by Asif Zaidi

Argentina revived their hopes to stay in hunt for the title by the end of the first part of the UF-League at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium here on Saturday night.

Emerson opened the scoring for the home team four minutes into the first half and Marcelinho levelled for Sharjah from the spot in the 37th minute. Sand fired home the winner two minutes into the stoppage time.

Al Ain worked hard to dominate, but their strikers were not clinical. Emerson and Sand had many good chances but their shots went wide.

However Sand was able to take advantage of confusion in the Sharjah back-line in the dying minutes of the dramatic clash and slotted the ball into the open net from the edge of the six-yard box.

“It’s a kiss of hope,” said the Al Ain team manager Sultan Rashid. “This goal is very crucial for our campaign. We are now six points off the early speed and with 11 games remaining we have every chance to catch up. We will beat Al Jazira in our home clash and look forward for the other teams to do us a favour,” he added.

Al Jazira is showing the way with 29 points followed by city rivals Al Wahda with 24 points. Al Ain are third with 23 points.

In another clash, Al Dhafra beat Al Ahli 5-4 in a widely open contest. Haamad Abdul Rahman drew first blood for Al Dhafra in the 20th minute of the first half and Khairi Khalfan headed home the second goal six minutes later. Al Ahli bounced back and Bare reduced the deficit to 1-2 from the spot in the 38th minute before Ahmed Khalil levelled the result with a lovely move two minutes into injury time of the first half.

In the 57th minute, Abbas Moya made it 3-2 and the same player increased the advantage to 4-2 in the 65th minute. Again, the Red Knights battled back and Khalil scored the third goal for Al Ahli in the 85th minute before Bare equalised two minutes later. Tawfeeq Abdul Razzaq came from nowhere with the fifth goal to break the Knights’ hearts in the dying moments.

However, the clubs will go into 11-day break and the second part of the competition will resume on January 28 with two games.

Al Dhafra will host promoted Ajman and Al Jazira will entertain Al Shabab. Ironically, the two sides Al jazira and Al Shabab will lock horns on Saturday in the semifinal of the President Cup at Zayed Sports City.

On January 29, Emirates will play Sharjah and Al Wasl will face Bani Yas. On January 30, Al Ain will renew their rivalry against Al Nasr and Al Wahda will meet Al Ahli.

President Cup

The Competitions Committee of the UAEFA rescheduled the semifinals of the President Cup to be played on Friday, January 22, and Saturday, January 23, at Zayed Sports City.

Al Wahda will line up against Emirates at 5.10pm on Friday and Al Jazira take on Al Shabab at 5.10pm on Saturday. The original plan was to hold both games on the same day, but considering the poor attendance, it has been decided to reschedule the games to be played over two days.

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