The top-of-the-table Etisalat Pro-League match between Al Ahli and Al Ain on Saturday night descended into farce as the governing Pro League Committee (PLC) indicated that the goalless draw may be considered “null and void”.
Referee Hamad Al Shaikh Hashmi blew the final whistle early after one of his assistants, Mohammad Al Jalaf Al Muhairi, was struck by a metallic object apparently thrown from the crowd.
The teams were locked at 0-0 after 90 minutes of play and the fourth official Yaqoob Al Hammadi had already signalled three minutes of added time would be played.
However, after the injured official had been treated by the Al Ain medical team, the referee blew for the end of the match as puzzled players from both sides surrounded him.
“The result is on hold until the disciplinary committee meets,” the PLC said in a message to the media.
“The referee needs to submit his report and then the incident will be referred to the FA Disciplinary Committee for a final decision,” a source confirmed to Gulf News. “The rules are simple. The match is cancelled as it was not completed.”
Last night there were rumours the match would be awarded with a 3-0 scoreline in favour of Al Ain as the missile was seemingly hurled from a section of the Rashid Stadium that contained home supporters.
Coaches from both sides refused to comment either on the incident or the rules at the post-match conference. “The referee is the boss on the field and he can decide what is to be done,” Al Ahli boss Quique Sanchez Flores said.
Flores’ Al Ain counterpart Cosmin Olaroiu, who rested key players for the match with the midweek AFC Champions League match against Al Rayyan of Qatar in mind, said: “It was a difficult situation for us to play and come out with this result as we still need to play in the Asian Champions League. We have passed the first test and now our full attention is on our Champions League match.”