Al Jazira rule over the Boss
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, presents the President's Cup to Al Jazira Club's Ali Khaseif. In the final, Al Jazira won sudden-death shootout 7-6 against Al Ain at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Abu Dhabi - Pride of Abu Dhabi win third President's Cup after downing Al Ain in final
The President's Cup final turned out to be an epic encounter which went all the way down to the wire. Al Jazira held their nerve during the sudden-death penalties to beat Al Ain and clinch their third title at the Zayed Sports City on Sunday night.
The 'Pride of Abu Dhabi' were the winners of 2011 and 2012 editions. Both the teams were level at 1-all in normal play and with no extra-time, it was a straight call for penalties which Al Jazira clinched 7-6.
In the penalty shoot-out, Al Jazira front man and star of the night Ali Mabkhout couldn't get the better off Khalid Issa, and Danilo Asprilla and Mohanad Salem hit the woodwork for Al Ain. With Salem missing the sudden-death shot, Al Jazira club went berserk.
The shoot-out heroes for Al Jazira were Khalfan Mubarak, Fares Jumaa, Park Jong-woo, Thiago Neves, Abdullah Mousa and Mohammed Jamal. And Dyanfres Douglas, Omar Abdulrahman, Rashed Eisa, Ismail Ahmed and Lee Myung-Joo scored for the 'Boss'.
If the first half saw lack of composure from both sides, the second half was all about intent with Al Ain going all out to grab the Cup and Jazira back-four deflecting each attack. The first half saw Ali Mabkhout scoring through a penalty and in the second, Dyanfres Douglas drew level to make it 1-1. Danilo Asprilla had bursts of heavy activity from the right flank and could have added five or six goals. His sprints were electrifying and his finishing erratic.
The proceedings started with a flurry of activities and the 33,000-crowd made sure there was no lack of motivation for their platoons. Once the 'Boss' had settled in office, it was a wave of attack from the Garden City club that was met with an equally resolute Jazira defence. The contest was intriguing. Al Ain were inconsistent but the likes of Omar and Asprilla made their electric presence felt. And as feared by Zlatko Dalic it was a warm night.
In the third minute, Al Jazira had the first attack through Spaniard Angel Latifa. Al Ain soon followed with both Mohammed and Omar Abdulrahman testing Ali Khaseif.
In the 33rd minute, 'Almoory' sold Mohammed Jamal a dummy and hit a scorcher that hit the frame and on the rebound Douglas, in front of goal, headed wide an Asprilla pass. It was on a counter-attack in the 44th minute that Mabkhout made a dash for Al Ain goal and Mohammed Fayez tried to cut the run by pulling his jersey resulting in a spot kick. Mabkhout pocketed the ball in the right corner of the goal to make it 1-nil.
With four added minutes and in the extra time of first half, Amoory hit the woodwork again. In the second half, Al Ain started with more purpose and saw Asprilla make some electrifying runs and soon Douglas restored parity. It was in the 64th minute that Asprilla bolted in a thunderous volley that goalkeeper Khaseif barely managed to keep out. The Brazilian was there to convert on the rebound and Zayed Sports City Stadium erupted.
Finally, Zlatko Dalic initiated a change that saw Ibrahim Diaky making an appearance and could have added a goal.
Boisterous Al Ain supporters can take much solace from the match as Al Ain have bagged the Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup, finished second in the Arabian Gulf League and qualified for the AFC Champions League last 8. The Garden City club had the Cup pedigree at stake - Al Ain had made it to a record 12 President's Cup finals but won only half the battles. And it was unlucky 13th final for Al Ain.
Al Ain's Danilo Asprilla is challenged by Al Jazira's Mohammed Jamal during the President's Cup final on Sunday.
SP290516-NB- Al Jazira Celebrating the Cup during their President Cup football final Al Jazira Vs Al Ain at Zayed Sports City.- Abu Dhabi- K. Photo By Nezar Balout