Al Nasr, Al Dhafra play a thrilling draw
Al Nasr 2
(Goals: Ahmed Khamis 41, Abdelaziz Barrada 83. Yellow card: Ahmed Khamis 14)
Al Dhafra 2
(Goals: Mohamed Saeed Al Shehhi 61, Omar Khrbin 68. Yellow card: Khalid Butti Al Zaabi 21)
Al Dhafra FC, tucked far, far away in the Western region, perhaps aren't seen through the same glass as the other 'big' teams. And they don't probably get the credit they duly deserve.
Al Dhafra are a pretty decent team with some good players and a good coach and they have often punched above their weight. And on Saturday night, The Western Knights came close to putting it past Al Nasr before having to settle for a 2-2 draw in the 14th round of the Arabian Gulf League.
Coping with life without their ace marksman Makhete Diop, who had carried them on his muscular shoulders for a long time before he became Al Ahli's Red Knight, Al Dhafra had cancelled out Ahmed Khamis' first half strike through Mohamed Saeed Al Shehhi, just past the hour.
And watched on keenly from the stands of the Al Maktoum Stadium by Diop himself, Al Dhafra took the lead through the impressive and inspirational Syrian Omar Khrbin.
But former Marseille and Al Jazira midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada completed a fine finish to a Jires Kembo-Ekoko cross from the left, as Al Nasr escaped with the draw.
The Blue Wave's first stalemate this term took them to 22 points and to sixth on the table, while Al Dhafra logged 20 points after their second draw.
Both teams had a slew of injuries going into the fixture, but then, the game was nothing short of entertaining.
Al Nasr were without Khalid Jalal and Mubarak Saeed, who were injured during the inaugural Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge Cup game against Bundesliga club SV Hamburg.
Goalkeeper Ahmed Shambih, Ahmed Ibrahim and Ali Hussein were still on the road to recovery, while captain Tariq Ahmed, who too had a question mark, came on as a second half substitute.
Meanwhile, Al Dhafra were without Ahmed Ali, Abdulla Alnaqbi, Abdulraheem Jumaa, Adil Hermach and Ali Alamir.
It was a pretty fast-paced affair and Al Dhafra had a shot early on but Mohamed Saeed Al Shehhi drilled one over the cross bar.
But it was Al Nasr who took a lead into half time through Ahmed Khamis, who tucked in the rebound after Wanderley was denied, on 41 minutes.
Al Dhafra came close after the break but Omar Khrbin's effort was blocked following a corner, on 55 minutes.
And just on the hour, Wanderley was forced to change his shirt after it ripped open as Abdulrahman Yousaf tugged at him.
Al Dhafra drew level a minute later with Mohammed Saeed Al Shehhi slotting home the rebound after goalkeeper Abdulla Mohd Ismail had blocked Khrbin's attempt from the top of the box.
Khrbin then saw his shot whizz over the cross bar from the right. But the Syrian was not to be denied though as he headed home a corner for his eighth goal in the League this season.
But Barrada scored his fifth goal of the League after Kembo-Ekoko had fed him from the left.
Djokovic holds a 6-2 record over Zverev, his semifinal opponent READ MORE
Sri Lanka won the T20 series 2-1 READ MORE
American Caeleb Dressel wins men's 100 metres freestyle in swimming READ MORE
Atanu beat the legendary South Korean Oh Jin-Hyek in a one-arrow... READ MORE
Financial difficulties or debts of retirees will also be looked into, ... READ MORE
Assistant Minister Omar Saif Ghobash to serve as her deputy READ MORE
Decompression areas are modelled after the dark sensory room at the... READ MORE
Employees say they are looking forward to being part of the greatest... READ MORE