Abu Dhabi: Al Ain split points with Al Ahli as they settled for a 2-2 draw in the 20th week of the UAE Football League (UFL) giving Al Jazira a glimmer of hope to win the first ever major title in their history.
The match, held late on Monday night at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium, was a thriller with both teams showing great tactical maturity and determination to win maximum points.
Al Ahli started the match leading the UFL with 3 points more than Al Jazira their nearest rivals who were playing in Dubai against Al Nasr. But despite the 2-0 victory of Al Jazira, Al Ahli still lead with a single point with only two matches remaining this season.
Al Ahli took the lead in the 26th minute following a fast counter attacking move with Faisal Khalil sending his Brazilian teammate, Bare, behind the defenders to place home the first goal of the match. Till half-time the score remained unchanged.
Winfred Schaefer, Al Ain's head coach, who watched the match form the stands as he is serving a two-match suspension, brought in Omar Abdul Rahman, the 17-year-old midfielder at the resumption of play and the new sensation was soon in the thick of the action.
The teenager combined well with Ali Al Waheebi on the right flank and one such move resulted in a goal. Referee Mohammad Omar, awarded Al Ain a penalty kick in the 55th minute when Obaid Al Taweela fouled Valdivia inside the box and the Chilean striker converted correctly to level the score.
Abdul Rahman put his team ahead in the 78th minute to probably become the youngest player to score a goal this season in the UFL.
But Al Ain's celebrations were short-lived as Bare came again to his team's rescue when he was sent clear by Salem Khamis to score his second goal of the match to tie the result.
"It was a strong match." Ivan Hashek, the Al Ahli coach said after the match.