Khorfakkan and Al Ain players in action during their AGL match on Saturday.
Al Ain were held to a 2-2 draw by Khorfakkan at Saqr Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi Stadium in matchweek 14 of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), which is held under the slogan “Together We Recover” in support of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts.
Bruno Lamas and Omar Juma were involved in an interesting exchange just six minutes into the game, which saw the No.11’s effort blocked by Al Ain keeper Mohamed Bu Sanda.
Al Ain missed an easy chance to break the deadlock just after the 20-minute mark, when Laba Kodjo failed to capitalize on the keeper’s error and had his shot intercepted by the hosts’ defence.
Khorfakkan responded quickly and took the lead three minutes later when Ismail Al Hammadi received a long ball and dribbled past the defence, before raiding the Al Ain’s box and firing on the counter.
The hosts missed a valuable opportunity to double their lead 10 minutes before the break, when Ramon Lopes, who was in a one-on-one situation with the keeper, failed to put his foot through the ball.
Khorfakkan were made to rue their missed chance as Al Ain levelled the scoreline less than five minutes later when Tsukasa Shiotani fired a right-footed effort from the edge of the box into the top of the goal, as they headed into halftime deadlocked at 1-1.
The Boss looked more dangerous after the restart, as keeper Abdalla Sanqour pulled off a double save before an effort from Shiotani drilled wide of the post.
Al Ain’s pressure paid off as they took the lead on the one-hour mark, after Bandar Al Ahbabi’s cross found Laba Kodjo inside the box and the latter beat his markers and fired home to make it 2-1.
Khorfakkan needed only eight minutes to restore the draw, when Ramon Lopes crossed the ball inside the box and Raphael Guimaraes ‘Dodô’ made no mistake tapping home.
Al Ain found the back of the net 15 minutes from time, but Caio Canedo’s header was ruled out for a foul in the buildup. Khorfakkan had a goal also ruled out a minute later for an offside.
Al Ain now have 24 points from six wins and six draws, while Khorfakkan reached the 15-point mark off four wins and three draws.
Meanwhile, two first-half goals handed Shabab Al Ahli a 2-0 win over Ittihad Kalba in another match of the day.
Kalba missed a chance to take an early lead when Peniel Mlapa went in a one-on-one situation with keeper Majed Naser, only to send a poor shot that was diverted into a corner by Naser.
Igor Jesus came close to breaking the deadlock in the 21st minute when he broke through on goal and fired an angled effort, only to see it drill wide at the far post.
Shabab Al Ahli found the back of the net seven minutes later, when Abdulaziz Haikal’s inch-perfect cross found Mohammed Juma inside the box and the latter glanced home a powerful header.
The hosts doubled their lead only two minutes later as Majed Hassan fired a powerful strike from outside box into the top corner of the net, leaving the keeper helpless.
Kalba were seeking to reduce the deficit in the second half but their few attempts were blocked by a powerful defensive display from Shabab Al Ahli.
The Tigers, who remain win-less for the fifth game in a row, have 19 points, three less than Shabab Al Ahli.
Earlier, Al Jazira cruised to a 3-0 win over Al Nasr at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Friday.
Al Jazira needed 13 minutes only to break the deadlock, as Ali Mabkhout’s through pass found Oumar Traore inside the box, and the latter made no mistake tapping the ball home.
Ali Mabkhout had a chance to double the Pride of Abu Dhabi’s lead on the 15-minute mark, but his effort from a tight angle hit the woodwork.
Abdulla Ramadan then missed another opportunity to break the deadlock as his strike from outside the box hit the woodwork 10 minutes later.
Al Jazira keeper Ali Khasif was called into action in the 29th minute, as he pulled off a fine save to deny Ryan Mendes’ close-range effort.
Mendes went on to miss another chance six minutes later when his effort from inside the box hit the side netting, as Al Jazira headed into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.
Al Jazira were awarded a penalty in the 54th minute, when Khalfan Mubarak was brought down inside the box by Mahmoud Khamees. Mabkhout converted into the bottom left corner of the net to extend the hosts’ lead.
Shabab Al Ahli extended their lead at the top of the Arabian Gulf League table after a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Sharjah at Rashid Stadium in matchweek 13 on Friday.
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