Hertog sees positives as Al Jazira climb to second - GulfToday

Hertog sees positives as Al Jazira climb to second

Jazira

Players of Al Nasr and Emirates Club in action during their matchweek 21 game of the AGL at Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium on Friday.

Al Jazira head coach Damien Hertog insists there were plenty of positives to take despite seeing his side earn 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 had some players missing so 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 will next be in action on Saturday, April 27 against Al Wasl in Dubai.

Meanwhile, in a matchweek 21 game of the Arabian Gulf League on Friday, super-sub Habib Alfardan scored twice as Al Nasr defeated Emirates Club 3-1 at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.

The game got off to a slow start as the first real threat came in the 26th minute, when Sergio Dutra went up the right flank and sent a ground cross towards Ronnie Fernandez. The latter’s shot got deflected off the defender to a corner kick.

Dutra was once again at heart of attack for the Blues, when he got at the end of Mahmoud Khamis’ left-footed cross. However, Ali Saqr easily saved the Brazilian’s long-range header in the 34th minute.

Two minutes past the one-hour mark, the hosts were awarded a penalty kick after Saqr fouled Rashid Omer inside the box. Fernandez sent the ball calmly into the bottom corner, making it 1-0 for the home side.

Just four minutes later, substitute Habib Alfardan doubled Al Nasr’s lead with his first touch in the game. Khamis advanced up the left wing before sending an accurate cross towards the number 10, who found the back of the net with a clever header.

Both players combined once again as Al Nasr extended their lead to 3-0 in 75th minute. Alfardan received Khamis’ short pass and cut inside, before smashing the ball in the top corner to secure the full points for the Blues.

In the dying moments of the game, Tunisian international Saber Khalifa reduced the deficit for the Falcons as he received a long through pass behind Al Nasr defence. The 32-year-old dribbled brilliantly past the defender and sent a well-placed curler past Ahmed Shambih.

Following the win, Al Nasr moved to the ninth spot with 26 points ahead of the away clash against Al Dhafra on Apr.24.

Emirates occupy the 12th spot with 15 points and are set to host Shabab Al Ahli next week.