Abu Dhabi: Al Jazira head coach Damien Hertog insisted there were plenty of positives despite his side being held to a 2-2 draw against Dibba in the Arabian Gulf League.
Hertog’s side found themselves behind at home after 16 minutes but two second-half goals in the space of two minutes, from Nacer Barazite and substitute Zayed Al Ameri, saw Al Jazira take the lead.
Despite the hosts continuing to press forward, Al Jazira were denied a third consecutive victory when Dibba equalised in the last minute.
The result sees Al Jazira move up to second place in the league on goal-difference. Although they could not claim the three points, Hertog was pleased with how his team adapted after going into the match with four absentees including top-scorer Ali Mabkhout (suspension) and creative midfielder Khalfan Mubarak (injured).
“We missed some players, hence we had to try different scenarios. It’s not always easy to play in a different formation but my players showed great determination,” Hertog said during the post-match press conference.
“We wanted to win the game but we couldn’t do it today. We could have done better in the first half but in the second half, we improved and played very well. We dominated the half, creating chances but we just could not get the third goal.”
He added: “I must say the equaliser from Nacer Barazite was a fantastic goal as we were playing one-touch football which was great to see. It really was an amazing goal. Before the game, we wanted to be second in the league and that is where we are so that is a plus but now we must look ahead to the next game.”
Hertog was also impressed with Al Ameri after the 22-year-old netted his first league goal of season. “Zayed deserved his first goal because when he came on, he did very well. He has been showing good form recently especially against Sharjah and is getting closer to even starting a match for us this season. I hope this performance can give him more motivation and confidence for the rest of the campaign.”
Al Jazira’s next match will be on Saturday (April 27) against Al Wasl in Dubai.
Elsewhere, Al Nasr rode a double from super-sub Habib Alfardan to register a 3-1 win over Emirates at Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.
The winners took the lead through a penalty conversion by Ronnie Fernandez after a foul on Rashid Omer by Ali Saqr. The margin for Emirate was reduced in the dying minutes by Tunisian international Saber Khalifa, who dribbled brilliantly past the defender and sent a well-placed curler past Ahmed Shambih.
Al Nasr have now moved to ninth spot with 26 points ahead of the away clash against Al Dhafra on April 24. Meanwhile, Emirates occupy 12th spot with 15 points and are set to host Shabab Al Ahli next week.