Al Nasr and Al Jazira players in action during their AGL match on Saturday.
Al Nasr and Al Jazira played out a 1-1 draw at Al Maktoum Stadium on Saturday in the opening matchweek of the Arabian Gulf League held under the slogan “we commit to win”.
The game got off to a quick start as the hosts were already 1-0 up in the fourth minute. Following a defensive error, the ball fell to Habib Al Fardan but his shot rebounded off the woodwork and fell to Ryan Mendes who slotted home.
Al Nasr continued to pose threat on Al Jazira’s goal and missed an opportunity to double their lead, when Portuguese midfielder Toze sent an effort from outside the box that went inches away from goal.
However, Al Nasr’s lead didn’t last long, as Al Jazira levelled up the scoreline in the 34th minute. Following an impressive team effort, Salem Rashid crossed the ball to Khalfan Mubarak who passed it to Zayed Al Ameri and the latter slotted home.
Just before the break, Ali Mabkhout missed an opportunity to give Al Jazira the lead. Omar Abdulrahman sent a through pass to Mabkhout inside the box, and the 30-year-old went one-on-one with the keeper before missing the target.
Al Nasr forward Sebastián Tagliabué wasted a chance to get his name on the scoresheet and give his side the lead in the 56th minute, when he sent a weak header into Abdulrahman Al Ameri’s hands.
Omar Abdulrahman came closing to netting the winner eight minutes from time, however, his free-kick hit the woodwork.
With five minutes to go, Al Nasr were reduced to 10 men after Tariq Ahmed received a second booking.
Al Jazira will next face Al Dhafra, while Al Nasr will play against Khorfakkan.
Meanwhile, Al Jazira have signed Imoh Ezekiel, the Nigerian international forward joining the club ahead of the 2020-21 Arabian Gulf League campaign.
The 26-year old arrives in the Abu Dhabi club following a career that has seen him play across European top-flight leagues as well as having experience of football in the Middle East.
Ezekiel, who can play in a number of attacking positions began his career in Belgium with a successful stint at Standard Liege as well as playing for European giants Anderlecht.
He has also enjoyed spells in Spain and spent three years of his early career in the Middle East between 2014-2017.
Speaking of Ezekiel’s arrival at Al Jazira Club, Sporting Director Mads Davidsen commented: “Imoh’s experience of the region and across Europe is a huge boost for Marcel and the team, with him playing for top clubs and against tough opposition.
“His style of play offers a new dimension to the way in which coach Marcel wants the team play and Ezekiel can play in a number of positions. In a football team you need different skills and we have a lot of good combination players and Imoh is a clever deep runner and can really help us adding this dimension to the offensive part of our game.” Ezekiel, who will wear the number 39 shirt, added, “To join a club of Al Jazira’s statue is something which really excites me. When I was speaking with Mads and the head coach, they told me their ambition for the club and I can’t wait to get excited for the season, as soon as I arrived at the stadium, I see the Pride of Abu Dhabi, so it is special to be part of this.
“I know the league well and have watched a lot of football in the Middle East so it is great to be part of this club and in a region that is so passionate about football.” Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Ezekiel has represented his country at Under-23 level and made his senior debut for the Super Eagles in 2014.