Abu Dhabi: Hosts Al Ain’s winless run continued as they were held to a 2-2 draw by a spirited Ittihad Kalba in the Matchweek 23 of the Arabian Gulf League at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.
Ittihad Kalba, who recently played out a 1-1 draw with leaders Sharjah, took just little over a minute to take the lead through a well-directed header by their Ivorian recruit Giovanni Sio. Balazs Dzsudzsak sent in a long ball and Sio, left completely unmarked, just had to pick his spot.
The lead, however, lasted for just five minutes as Al Ain drew level through a penalty. Marcus Berg was brought down by Kalba’s goalkeeper Jamal Al Saraha and the referee pointed to the spot. Al Ain’s Japanese midfielder Tsukasa Shiotani’s effort from the spot was blocked brilliantly by Al Sarah but the rebound landed on the foot of an overlapping Bandar Al Ahbabi, who made no mistake on that second opportunity.
Al Ahbabi then took the role of a provider in the 16th minute and Al Ain went on to take a 2-1 lead. Kalba defender Dawood Al Bloushi tried to intercept a cross from Al Ahbabi from the right, but the ball ballooned in the air and an overlapping Mohammad Khalfan nodded it home.
Just before the half-time whistle, Kalba ensured that they were on level terms. Once again, Sio timed his jump to perfection to head home to complete his brace from a pinpoint cross from substitute Hassan Khamis.
Both teams had their share of chances after the change of ends but none of them could get the breakthrough. The Boss’ poor results have left them on fourth place with 40 points while Kalba, moving away from the relegation zone, sit 11th on 24 points.