Al Ain survive a scare

AL AIN — Al Ain FC consider it their lucky ground. And they were lucky enough to escape to victory in their season opener of the Etisalat UAE Pro-League in Al Ain late on Saturday night.



Al Ain’s home games were shifted to the old Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium in Al Qattara as the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium is undergoing renovation and maintenance work. Al Ain last played at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium in the 2005-05 season.

Watched by 7,153 die-hard fans, the Al Ain defence leaked goals but they still managed to edge past promoted club Dubai FC 4-3.

Al Ain’s Argentine forward Jose Sand missed two penalties but Al Ain rallied from a goal down, and though a dogged Dubai FC fought back each time by reducing the margin, Al Ain FC held their nerve to come away with three points.

Jose Sand scored in the 31st and 45th minutes, while Omar Abdulrehman scored in the 34th minute. Substitute Abdul Aziz Fayez scored the fourth in the 70th minute. Dubai FC’s Michael Laurent Henry scored a brace in the 17th and 51st minutes, while Rachid Tiberkanin scored the third in the 78th minute.

In the other game, Bani Yas scored a solitary goal win over Al Shabab away at the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium in Dubai. Andre Senghor scored the match winner in the 61st minute.

The game was quite fast-paced and it was Al Ain who had the better of the chances in the opening minutes of the first half. Captain Rami Yaslam saw his shot whizz past the left post in the opening minute of the game.

Al Ain could have gone ahead in the very eighth minute but their Argentine forward Jose Sand missed from the spot. Al Ain’s freekick from outside the box was handled by Dubai’s Michael Laurent and the referee Hamda Al Shaikh Hashmi pointed to the spot. Sand’s shot hit the right post and went out.

And against the run of play, Dubai went ahead in the 17th minute, ironically through Michael Laurent, who had handled the ball earlier. Hassan Mohammed headed it in and Michael Laurent got past a defender and fired home from close range.

Al Ain had an opportunity to get the equaliser in the 29th minute after a good move from the middle but an unmarked Ali Al Wehaibi’s try was kept away by the goalkeeper Jamal Al Hammadi after being put in by Sand.

But they didn’t have to wait long as two minutes later, Sand made up for his missed penalty. Omar Abdulrehman got through the defence and scooped it in perfectly for Sand, who headed into goal. Al Ain doubled it three minutes later through Omar Abdulrehman whose freekick sailed straight into goal.

Al Ain went into the break with a 3-1 lead after Sand, who was shaky with spot kicks, converting the penalty. Dubai’s Juma Khater handled the ball inside the box and referee Hamad Al Shaikh Hashmi pointed to the spot. Sand’s first attempt was kept out by goalkeeper Jamal Al Hammadi but Sand made no mistake with the rebound.

Al could have added to that on resumption, but Omar Abdulrehman screaming left-footer just whizzed over the cross bar, after being set up by Sand. Dubai reduced the margin through Michael Laurent Henry, whose long ranger from the right flank, sailed into the goal.

Al Ain substitute Abdul Aziz Fayez made it 4-2 by capitalising on a defensive lapse. Fayez won the ball off a defender and sent his left-footer home.

But Dubai managed to reduce the margin again through Rachid Tiberkanin, who broke the off-side trap and slotted it home.

Teams:

Al Ain FC: Yousif Abdelrehman, Musallem Fayez, Ibrahim Keita, Ali Al Wehaibi, Jose Sand, Omar Abdulrehman, Saif Mohammed, Rami Yaslam ©, Mohnad Salem, Shehab Ahmed, Hazza Salem. Substitutes: Abdulla Sultan, Abdul Aziz Fayez, Ahmed Al Shamsi, Mohammed Fayez, Mohammed Abdulrehman, Fawzi Fayez, Faisal Ali. Coach: Abdul Hameed Al Mishtiki.

Dubai FC: Jamal Al Hammadi, Mohammed Ali, Sami Anbar, Haitham Rabie ©, Rachid Tiberkanin, Jamal Abdelrehman, Michael Laurent Henry, Jasim Mubarak, Hassan Mohammed, Juma Khater, Yazid Kaissi. Substitutes: Jamal Abdullah Ali, Ahmed Mallah, Ali Hassan, Faisal Abdelrehman, Hassan Abdelrehman, Mohammed Ali Hussain, Ibrahim Eid. Coach: Ayman Al Ramadi.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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