Dubai: Mohammad Aboutrika’s Bani Yas debut ended in disappointment last night as his new side were beaten 2-1 by Al Ain in the President’s Cup quarter-final at Al Wasl’s Zabeel Stadium.
The Egyptian former double African Cup of Nations winner, who wore the No.72 as a mark of respect to the 72 Al Ahly fans who died in last year’s Port Said Stadium riot, drew the Abu Dhabi club level with a wonder strike with 20 minutes remaining. But he could only watch as Ali Al Wahaibi grabbed the league champions a winner ten minutes from time.
Al Ain were without current league top-scorer Asamoah Gyan, who has yet to return from national team duty with Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations. But fellow forward Jires Kembo Ekoko, of Congo, more than made up for his teammate’s absence with two assists, helping his side progress to the semi-finals.
A bullet header from Alex Brosque fired Al Ain in front on 15 minutes, following Jires Kembo Ekoko’s volleyed cross.
Bani Yas could have levelled soon after, but Andre Senghor struck Amer Abdul Rahman’s defence-splitting pass wide of the post.
Al Ain’s Omar Abdul Rahman then failed to connect to Ali Al Wahaibi’s cross before the interval, just as Nicky Carle took one too many touches on his approach on goal for Bani Yas.
Mohammad Abou Treika finally got Bani Yas’ deserved equaliser on 68 minutes, blasting the ball into the top right-hand corner from a lay-off outside the area by Haboosh Saleh.
But it was to be shortlived, as ten minutes later Ekoko again assisted, passing to Al Wahaibi, who tapped bottom left beyond keeper Obaid Al Suwaidi.
Al Wahaibi then missed a chance to grab a brace in a similar one-on-one supplied by Omar Abdul Rahman.
It didn’t matter however, as in response, Andre Senghor could only head over from Khalid Al Mansouri’s cross and tap wide from a late free-kick.
At the time of going to press, last night’s other President’s Cup quarter-final results between Al Wahda and Al Jazira and Al Ahli with Dibba Fujairah were unknown. But Al Ain progressed with Al Shabab Al Arabi into the semi-finals after the Mamza outfit beat Sharjah 1-0 earlier in the month.