Abu Dhabi: Al Jazira got back to winning ways by beating Al Wasl 2-0 in the Matchweek 9 of the Arabian Gulf League at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium on Monday. Both second half goals came from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Mabkhout.
With this win, The Pride of Abu Dhabi have 19 points from nine outings and have regained their second spot behind Sharjah. Jazira are tied with Al Ain on points but have a better goal difference than the Boss.
Al Wasl almost got the breakthrough in the first minutes after their Brazilian striker Caio Canedo was given enough space to take a strike on goal. The ground though had enough power but found the bottom of the vertical after beating the outstretched hands of Al Jazira goalkeeper Adel Abu Baker.
The hosts then quickly got their acts together and in the 12th minute. Playmaker Khalfan had an opportunity to score from the top of the box but his effort ended up going wide.
In the 24th minute, Mabkhout decided to test the Al Wasl goalkeeper Yousef Abdalla Al Zaabi with a long range effort but only managed to see it going wide.
Then in the 36th minute, a left-footed free-kick from the right corner of the box by Fabio de Lima dipped in sharply but an alert Baker did well to tip it over the crossbar.
Just before the breather, Mabkhout was set with a measured cross by Khalfan but the former’s effort didn’t have the power nor the placement to beat Al Wasl goalkeeper Al Zaabi.
An awful mix-up allowed Al Jazira to take the lead soon after the change of ends. Khalfan sent in a long ball and Mabkhout timed his run to perfection and chipped it across for the former. Though defender Waheed Ismail intercepted that release and placed it for Al Zaadi to clear, an overlapping Salem Al Azizi ended up colliding with the goalkeeper allowing Khalfan to tap home from close range.
Jazira then doubled the lead in the 62nd minute with Mabkhout nodding home a left-footed release from Khalfan off a corner.
In the 82nd minute, Mabkhout could have completed his brace on a counter but his shot went wide off a pin-point cross from Ernest Asante. Al Wasl kept pressing but their raids didn’t have firepower to get the breakthrough and Jazira played out the time with ease.
With UAE set to host the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi early next year, the match also saw children with determination take the share of the field during the break and they were allowed to get a feel of the ball.
In another outing, Ajman rallied from a goal down to beat bottom-placed Dibba 2-1. Juma Masud put Dibba in the lead just before half time while Stanley Nka and Adel Hermach scored for Ajman in the 50th and 53rd minute.