Al Ain scrape past Dubai

Hisham Al GizouliDUBAI – Al Ain earned a narrow 2-1 away victory over fighting Dubai in the second round of the Etisalat Cup at the Dubai Stadium here on Friday.

Scocco drew first blood for Al Ain in the fourth minute of the first half and Camara levelled the score six minutes later before Yasser Al Qahtani netted the winner with a lovely rebound in the 56th minute of the fast-paced clash. The game was a good opportunity for Al Ain’s Romanian coach Cosmin Olaroiu to bring all the four foreigners together including the former Sunderland’s striker Asamoah Gyan for the first time. And more importantly, he also sent in midfilder Hilal Saeed, who reunited with the squad at the beginning of the season from Al Jazira, for the first time.

All indications suggested that the former champions are returning to form after having hit a good level of harmony and understanding.

Saudi striker Yasser Al Qahtani has at last found his strides and formed a strong partnership with Asamoah, but they still need more time to show the best of them as a formidable duo.

Al Ain’s keeper Waleed Salem is also back to his best to solve the biggest problem which has been annoying the coach in the last few months.

Meanwhile, Al Shabab continued their winning streak with a well deserved 2-0 victory over archrivals Al Nasr in their second start of the season at the Dubai SC Stadium in Al Aweer on Thursday night. Villanueva broke the deadlock with a lovely placing in the 18th minute of the first half and Cesar made it 2-0 in the 45th minute with a beautiful rebound.

In another clash, Sharjah held ten-man Al Ahli to a tough fought out 3-3 draw at the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium. Sharjah veteran Saeed Al Kas headed home the opener in the 9th minute and Grafite levelled nine minutes later before he went for a double in the 21st minute. Mohammed Suroor fired home the equaliser in the 54th minute and Grafites completed a hat-trick in the 57th minute. Edinho came with a strong run in the 72nd minute to make it 3-3.

Al Ahli were reduced to ten men when UAE referee Abdulla Naji sent off Tareq Ahmed in the injury time. He also cancelled what could be a correct goal by Edinho in the 59th minute on being allegedly offside.

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