Al Jazira hold Al Ahli

DUBAI — Al Jazira came from behind twice to turn an early 0-2 deficit into a 2-2 draw against ten-man Al Ahli at Rashid Stadium here on Friday night.

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Published: Mon 27 Sep 2010, 12:38 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:45 AM

The game between the league’s top of the table sides prompted the usual accusations about bad refereeing, which, arguably might have cost the Dubai side dearly.

Al Ahli’s forward Bance drew first blood for the home team in the fifth minute of the first half before he was sent off five minutes after the half-hour mark to reduce his team to ten man.

But Al Ahli continued to attack and in the 43rd minute Ahmed Khamis made it 2-0, slotting in an opportunistic goal.

After the break, Al Ahli went on the defensive and Al Jazira Brazilian coach Able Braga managed to take advantage of the obvious opportunity by pulling out three midfielders and substituted them with three strikers. The Latin American’s move paid dividends and towards the 61st minute Jumaa Abdullah reduced the deficit to make it 1-2 with a lovely header. Then Subait Khater fired home the equaliser with a long-ranger five minutes into injury time to bring the cheers on his coach’s face.

The equaliser was followed by chaotic scenes on the ground.

However, there’s no doubt that UAE referee Mohammed Abdul Karim did not get his decisions right, which ultimately affected the result at the end of the day. Karim’s decision to send off Al Ahli’s striker Bance was a wrong one. Al Jazira’s defender Saleh Basheer, who was directly involved in the incident that resulted in the marching orders for Bance, has denied to have provoked the African star. However, the replay of the TV footage (after the montage) showed the incident from the moment Bance pointed his finger towards Basheer which clearly suggests that Bance was provoked.

Al Ahli’s Irish coach David O’Leary declined to blame the referee during the post-match press conference though he hinted that he was still confused about the extended extra time, which was almost five minutes.

Al Jazira coach Able Braga admitted that Al Ahli was the better side on the pitch, but after they were reduced to ten men, Al Jazira players took over and changed the complexion of the game.

“We have nothing to do with the referee’s decisions. It’s up to him,” he said.

In the Western Region, Saeed Al Kas’ late goal powered Al Wasl to a deserving 3-2 victory over hosts Al Dhafra on Friday evening.

Khairi Khalfan scored an own goal by mistake to put Al Wasl ahead in the fifth minute and Baris Kabi levelled for the home team five minutes later. In the 36th minute Yeste put Al Wasl in the lead again and Hamad Al Hosani equalised for Al Dhafra in the 66th minute before Saeed Al Kas netted the winner with a minute to go.

With this result, Al Wasl climbed to the top of the table for the first time after raising their tally to nine points ahead of the UAE derby between Al Wahda against Al Ain.

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