Abu Dhabi: Title aspirants Al Jazira played their worse match in the UAE pro Football League (UFL) but were still lucky to earn a valuable point against Bani Yas after snatching a 1-1 draw while eighth-placed Al Dhafrah stunned third-placed Al Ain 2-1.
The draw helped Al Jazira maintain their second place with 40 points from 17 matches, behind table toppers Al Wahda, who can increase their lead to 3 points if they win at home against Al Wasl on Saturday.
Bani Yas were the better team for most of the match. They pressed for goals, were better organized, faster and more capable in aerial balls. They should have scored more goals but for the super performance of Ali Khaseef, the Al Jazira custodian who saved almost everything shot at him including a 74th minutes penalty by Andre Sanghor.
The spot kick was a controversial decision by referee Mohammad Abdulla because Sbait Khater’s foul on Habboush Saleh happened outside the box.
But the referee may have wanted to compensate Bani Yas for a penalty which he did not award them in the 18th minute when Rozario caught Habboush with his hands to bring him down inside the box. That foul deserved a penalty.
Bani Yas took the lead in the 79th minute following one of their many well organized attacking moves in which Papa George crossed from the right flank to Amer Abdul Rahman who sent a beautiful curler from outside the box to the far corner of the net.
Ebrahim Diaky leveled the score from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of injury time after he was brought down inside the box by Fahad Fraish.
Bani Yas, who were promoted this season from the lower division, consolidated their place as fourth with 29 points hoping to feature in the AFC Champions League next season.
IN the second match last night, Al Ain took the lead when their Argentinean striker Jose Sand headed them ahead in the 7th minute following a cross from Ali Al Waheebi but the home team soon equalized two minutes later when their captain Mohammad Salem lobbed over the advancing visiting goalie, Waleed Salem.
Abas Muyiwa Lawal scored the winner in the 87th minute. It was the first ever league victory for Al Dhafrah over Al Ain. Al Dhafrah increased their tally to 20 points while Al Ain remained third with 35.