Dhafra win to move into last eight

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Dhafra win to move into last eight

Al Dhafra will take on Ajman in the quarterfinals of the competition on May 23 at the Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium.

By Hisham Al Gizouli (chief Reporter)

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Published: Sat 16 May 2015, 12:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:57 PM

Dubai — Al Dhafra’s keeper Abdulla Sultan made a courageous save and Hassan Khoori made no mistake from the spot to power his side to 7-6 victory over hosts Fujairah in the penalty shootout in the pre-quarter-finals of the President Cup at the Fujairah Stadium on Friday. Al Dhafra will take on Ajman in the quarterfinals of the competition on May 23 at the Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium.

Both teams missed the first strike from the spot. Sanogo’s shot hit the crossbar and Abdul Salam Jumaa’s attempt went into the same direction. Once again, Sultan saved Bougherra’s shot and Fujairah’s keeper Mohammed Salem restored hope for his side after blocking Al Dhafra’s fourth try.

Lebanese striker Hassan Maatouk drew first blood for Fujairah two minutes into the extra-time of the first half and compatriot Bilal Najjarin levelled for Al Dhafra in the opening minute of the second half. This was also the result during the regular time and the two sides were forced to play additional time for a tie-break.

Ironically, Maatouk made the best of a poor clearance by Najjarin to beat Al Dhafra’s keeper Abdulla Sultan with a lovely rebound that hit his hand en route to the back of the net. But, Najjarin headed home the equaliser in the second minute of the second half with a beautiful header.

However, despite the hot weather conditions and high humidity in the eastern region, both sides showed great determination to make it in the second stage of the competition though, Fujairah were the better side on the pitch. And while Ivorian-import Boubacar Sanogo, Hassan Maatouk and Waleed Al Yamahi led serious attacks against their opponents, all their attempts to make an early breakthrough were in vain.

Sanogo missed at least three easy scoring opportunities in front of the open net, including his header which was courageously saved by the Al Dhafra keeper. Maatouk operated from the right flank and crossed to Sanogo inside the six-yard box, but the header of the former Hamburg forward was easily blocked by Abdullah Sultan.

In the meantime, Al Dhafra’s Makhete Diop made attempts to invade the rival territory but without much success. The African scoring machine was left alone upfront and all his moves were closely marked by the Fujairah cohesive defensive line thanks to the hard work of the experienced Algerian libro Madjid Bougherra with the helpful assistance of the midfielder former Algerian international Karim Ziani who was relentlessly patrolling the area.

“The weather conditions were tough,” said Al Dhafra midfielder Abdul Salam Jumaa. “We did our best to beat the hot and humid weather and at last we did it,” he added.

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