Abu Dhabi: Holders Al Ain suffered a shock 4-0 defeat at the hands of Ajman in the Arabian Gulf League round 20 match at the Hazza Bin Zayed on Saturday.
Stanley Nka put the visitors in the lead in the 29th minute with a brilliant striker dribbling past Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Eisa. Then three minutes from the break, Abdulla Malalla Salem got into the scoring act after his shot from the top of the area took a wicked deflection off a defender before settling into the net.
Ajman added more misery after the change of ends. Adel Hermach scored with a header following a corner. Then just before the final whistle Vander Vieira completed the rout.
All this happened in front of Al Ain’s former coach Zlatko Dalic, watching the proceedings from the stands. Dalic’s presence has triggered speculation that the Croatian will come back into the Al Ain set-up soon. He was seen taking selfies from the stands and also paid a visit to the press box along with an Al Ain board member.
Al Ain’s current manager Juan Carlos Garrido who joined the team in February has a contract until the end of the season. Al Ain, with this loss, have slipped to fourth spot behind Al Jazira who won their outing against Al Ittihad Kalba 4-2 after rallying from a two-goal deficit at the Ittihad Kalba Stadium on Saturday.
The contest that turned out to be a duel in the rain saw Tommy Reyes put the hosts in the lead in the ninth minute. Goalkeeper Ali Khaseif’s poor goal-kick allowed Myke Ramos nod the ball ahead for the overlapping Colombian striker Reyes who got the ball into the goal past a rooted Khaseif.
Ramos also got into the scoring in the 26th minute latching on to a poor clearance from midfielder Mohammad Al Attas.
Despite the setback, Jazira clawed their way back into the match with two quick goals before the breather. Leonardo Pereira’s free-kick from the left and Musallem Fayez’s feeble header, though lacked power, it did enough to beat Kalba goalkeeper Mohammad Al Bairaq.
Then a minute into the first half injury time, a grounder from Ali Mabkhout slipped out of the hands of Al Bairaq and Sebastien Siani, left unmarked, shot home with ease.
Kalba were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute following a red card to Mohammad Abbas. Jazira then struck twice in the 86th and 90th minute through Ernest Asante and Pereira to seal the contest comfortably. Al Jazira’s Mabkhout and Kalba’s goalkeeper Al Bairaq got the marching orders late into the injury time following an altercation.