Dubai: Asamoah Gyan scored a brace while Michel Bastos, Mohannad Salem and Alex Brosque got one each as defending champions Al Ain hammered a hapless Emirates Club 5-2 in the eighth round of the Arabian Gulf League on Friday.
With Al Ain showing genuine class by toying with their opponents, plucky Al Dhafra returned to Abu Dhabi with a point following a 0-0 draw against Ajman in the day’s other early match.
Following their narrow 1-0 loss to runaway leaders Al Ahli last week, Al Ain’s Brazilian Bastos opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he crashed in a left-footer past Ali Saqr in the Emirates goal.
Salem doubled the score in the 21st minute and Brosque got on the scoresheet in the 28th minute only to see Gyan make it 4-0 during first-half injury period.
The Ghana captain got a second in the 68th minute while Gustavo Herrera scored twice for Emirates.
Meanwhile, fresh from their exciting 4-4 thriller against Al Shaab last week, Ajman had to settle for a goalless draw against visiting Al Dhafra in the day’s second match.
Al Ain move into the upper half of the standings with 13 points, while Emirates remain tied with six points along with Ajman just above the relegation zone that is currently being manned by Al Shaab and Dubai club with four points apiece.
On Thursday, while Al Jazira coach Walter Zenga was absorbed with facing his old team Al Nasr, his counterpart, Ivan Giovanic, proved his tactical know-how by leading his ten-man team to a 2-1 away win late on Thursday in the eighth week of the Arabian Gulf League.
Zenga, who led Al Nasr last season before being sacked at the end of the season, was nervous and temperamental and his feelings shifted to his players on the field.
Al Jazira lost concentration and missed scoring chances while committing silly individual defensive mistakes that led to Habib Al Fardan and Ibrahima Torre scoring two goals.
Despite the fact that the visitors’ midfielder Tarig Ahmad was sent off in the 66th minute, the home team failed to capitalise and they scored their consolation goal in the 88th minute through midfielder Khamis Esmail.
Zenga was then sent off by the referee, Hamad Al Shaikh, in the last five minutes of the match for protesting about the official’s decisions.
“We played a good match and deserved to win,” Giovanic said after the match. “We are continuing to progress and in this match we played well, especially after being reduced to ten players in the last 30 minutes. We even created some scoring chances and could have scored more goals but our players could not find the finishing touch.”
Zenga started his press conference by congratulating the UAE for winning the hosting of Expo 2020 and on the occasion of the 42nd National Day, and thensaid about his team: “We have defensive problems, which we will work on, and we missed our scoring chances while Al Nasr scored. I would like to explain that I have no problems with the referee and all I did was to ask him about the four minutes of injury time and he sent me off. I did not realise that asking about the time was prohibited by the rules of the game.”
Ali Mabkhoot, the home striker who was replaced by Nelson Valdez in the first half because of injury, said: “It was one of our worst matches and we committed a number of mistakes both in attack and defence. We failed to score from our early chances and they did, so that was the difference.”
Al Fardan, the scorer of the first goal and the captain of Al Nasr, said: “I thank my colleagues for playing such a strong match. We almost dominated the match and won the points. It is an achievement bearing in mind we played against one of the country’s best teams and at their own ground. I believe this victory will be a motivation for our team to excel in the coming matches.”