Abu Dhabi: Reigning UAE champions Al Ain settled for a 1-1 draw with Bani Yas while Al Dhafra came from behind to beat bottom side Al Shaab 2-1 in Thursday’s early Arabian Gulf League games.
Bani Yas were the better team in the first half but failed to turn their dominance into goals and had to wait for the second half to take the lead, when a corner by Nawaf Mubarak was headed home by Fawaz Awana in the 59th minute.
But the home team retreated to defend their slim lead, which gave Al Ain the chance to get back into the game, led by playmaker Omar Abdul Rahman and Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan.
And their pressure told after Yousuf Jaber, the Bani Yas skipper, made a mistake when he thought the ball crossed the line, only for Abdul Rahman to snatch possession and cross for Gyan to head home the equaliser in the 78th minute.
The visitors were motivated by the goal and pressed hard against for a winner, but Sultan Musabbah, the young Bani Yas keeper, showed promising prospects as a potential star of the future to keep them at bay.
Referee Hamad Al Shaikh sent off Bani yas coach Jorge Da Silva for protesting his decisions in the last five minutes of the match.
Bani Yas increased their tally to 15 points and Al Ain moved to 14.
In Sharjah, Al Shaab lost yet another match to remain at the bottom of the standings.
They took the lead early on via Michael N’Dri, but they failed to defend their lead or add more goals as their guests came back into the game in the second half.
Makhete Diop leveled the scores in the 52nd minute and Abdulla Abdul Gadir added the winner in the 82nd.
The result worsened a bad situation for Al Shaab, whose board of directors resigned on Wednesday and a new one was appointed, but the situation on the pitch remains unchanged.
Al Dhafra increased their tally to 12 points, while Al Shaab stay with just four.