Al Jazira Fail to Find the Answers Against Al Gharafa

ABU DHABI — Al Gharafa were top notch and UAE Pro-League title contenders Al Jazira had no answers, going down 1-2 to the Qatari champions in their opening fixture in Group A of the AFC Champions League at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday night.

By James Jose

Published: Fri 26 Feb 2010, 12:34 AM

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

Al Gharafa coach Caio Junior had said pre-game that he would have been happy to take a point off Al Jazira but his club did more than just that, putting in a fine display of football to come out trumps.

Othman Al Assas (18th) and Iraqi international Younus Mahmoud (53rd) scored for Al Gharafa, while Brazilian Rafael Sobis (56th) scored for Al Jazira.

It was mostly Al Gharafa all the way as they found holes in the Jazira defence. Their dead-ball specialist and captain former Brazilian international Juninho, Younus Mahmoud and Clemerson were all over Jazira with their superior quality of play.

Al Gharafa had a chance in the very third minute of play, but Younus Mahmoud’s shot from close range was blocked by goalkeeper Ali Kasheif.

Jazira defender Abdulla Jumaa cleared the rebound for a corner. Al Gharafa had two corners in those first five minutes but couldn’t convert.

Jazira came up with an opportunity in the sixth minute but Yaser Matar’s long ranger was collected by goalkeeper Qasem Burhan. Gharafa’s Younus Mahmoud had the Jazira defence on their toes as he made foray from the right but goalkeeper Ali Kasheif managed to block his shot from close range.

They didn’t have to wait long as Othman Al Assas put Gharafa ahead in the 18th minute with a crisp long ranger, off a corner.

Jazira had a chance to draw level but the impressive Subait Khater’s long ranger went over the bar in the 21st minute.

Jazira defender Rozario was substituted because of an injury and that weakened their defence even more. He was replaced by Saleh Basheer. Gharafa could have doubled the lead when Clemerson broke through the defence with Jazira defenders Saleh Basheer and Abdulla Jumaa tailing him. Goalkeeper Ali Kasheif too charged out but Clemerson muffed it up and Saleh Basheer made the clearance.

Jazira had an opportunity just at the stroke of half-time but Mohammed Sroor’s header off a Abdul Salam Jumaa ball from the right, whizzed over the bar.

Gharafa almost got their second off a corner but Juninho’s header hit the cross bar.

Jazira had a chance just after the break but Rafael Sobis sent his shot wide. Gharafa, who came up with some impressive moves, increased the lead in the 53rd minute. Juninho sent in a fine ball from the centre and Younus Mahmoud hoodwinked the defence and the goalkeeper Ali Kasheif, who was out of position. Younus made space and slotted his left-footer into an open goal.

Jazira pulled one back through Rafael Sobis in the 56th minute but the equaliser remained elusive. They had a couple of chances in the 72nd and 81st minutes but Subait Khater missed on both occasions. His long ranger was blocked by goalkeeper Qasem Burhan and then, he saw his freekick go wide of the post.

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