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Al Jazira win high scoring thriller

Al Jazira beat Al Ahli 3-2 to maintain their sole leadership of the first division league following a thriller at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium last night.

Gulf News

Al Jazira beat Al Ahli 3-2 to maintain their sole leadership of the first division league following a thriller at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium last night.

Al Jazira increased their tally to 23 points from nine matches and kept their unbeaten record while Al Ahli remained on 13 points from the same number of matches.

The leaders applied a 4:3:2:1 formation with Mohammad Salim Al Enazy as inside forward while Mohammad Omar and Moritto played behind him.

Al Ahli played with their usual 4:4:2, pairing their new Tunisian striker Ali Al Zaytouni alongside Ali Karimi.

The home team took the lead following a good move on the left flank with Salih Obaid sending Al Enazy, the league top's scorer, clear behind the visiting defenders . Al Enazy, best known as 'Mr Hattrick' placed home 17 minutes into the match. It was his ninth goal of the season.

Both teams exchanged attacks but haste, specially in the last touch, deprived them from changing the result. The second half started with Al Ahli pressing for a goal, but their efforts were fruitless as Hassan Ali Ebrahim missed a sitter only three minutes after the breather.

Abdulla Shah, Al Ahli's libero, caught Al Enazy by his shirt which the referee Mohammad Abdul Karim ignored but linesman Salih Al Marzoogi signalled for a foul two metres outside the penalty box.

Ebrahima Diaki, the home midfielder, converted beautifully into the far corner of the net for his team's second goal.

Five minutes later, Obaid intercepted a ball from Al Ahli's defence, went past two players and instead of passing across the box, deceived everyone and shot home for his team's third and last goal. Al Ahli coach Ilie Balaci made two defensive substitutions, bringing in Jasim Akbar to replace Mohammad Qasim and Ahmad Shah in place of Sami Anbar.

Al Enazy should have scored a fourth goal when he capitalised on misunderstanding between Al Ahli custodian Ali Saeed and his defender Mashmoom Mahboub but his shot was deflected by the upright 12 minutes after the interval.

Karimi retreated to perform as a playmaker for Al Ahli and that made a big change. The Iranian passed to Waleed, who crossed to Al Zaytouni, who sent a fierce shot from 20 yards to register his first goal in the UAE league on debut.

A minute before the end, Karimi crossed from the left flank and Ahmad Shah headed onto Waleed's path to place home his team's second goal.

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