Al Dhafra and Bani Yas players in action during their Pro League match.
Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter
Skipper Fawaz Awana scored deep into additional time to hand visiting Bani Yas a hard-fought 2-1 win against Al Dhafra in the early game of the Pro League on Thursday.
Bani Yas went clear in the 13th minute after playmaker Amer Abdulrehman relayed a perfect cross for Serbian Sasa Ivkovic to head home and hand the visitors the early lead.
Seemingly on their way to their first win of the season, Abdulrehman then watched aghast a minute after the one-hour mark as his nudged header entered the far corner of his own goal past Fahad Mohammad Al Dhanhani scoring the equaliser for Al Dhafra.
On a warm and humid evening at Al Dhafra's Hamdan Bin Zayed Stadium, both teams then came close to scoring on several occasions.
Bani Yas finally scored the match-winner deep into injury-time when their captain Fawaz Awana placed the ball into the empty net after Swedish striker Issac Thelin had been denied from a close range by Al Dhafra goalkeeper Abdullah Sultan. The ball fell to Fawaz who comfortably placed it into the goal for
what has been proved to be the match-winner after the referee had consulted with the VAR.
The result gave Bani Yas their first win this season moving them mid-table with four points, while the home side remained at the lower end of the standings with three points.
Meanwhile, defending champions Al Jazira will extend their winning streak against Emirates in the fourth round match of the Adnoc Pro League on Friday.
Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer said he is wary of the opponents and do not take them lightly.
“Emirates did well in the last season and they deserved to qualify for the Pro League. They are playing good in this season despite the current run of negative results,” said Keizer.
Emirates, who were promoted this year to the top flight, got their campaign off to a losing start. They lost both their opening matches before holding Al Dhafra to draw to earn their lone point in the league. They are sitting on the 12th spot in the 14-team league.
“They created good chances in their last game against Al Dhafra and scored a late equalizer to bag a deserving point from that game. They have a strong squad they play in an organised manner, but we will focus only on our game and continue to carry on the winning momentum from our last game against Al Nasr,” added Keizer.
In the other match, Ajman will take on Al Orooba at 9pm on Friday.
Bani Yas' Brazilian midfielder Joao Pedro's goal in the 41st minute it was that reduced the margin for Bani Yas and kept them in the match. The scoreline at the end of the first half stayed the same with Al Jazira leading Bani Yas 2-1.
All eyes will be on exciting table-top clash between El Talento Football Academy and La Liga HPC in the Under-18 division when the tourney resumes.
Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari urged his team to give their best and not to take Al Wasl, who are four places adrift of the Kings on the points table, lightly.
Namibia reached the Twenty20 World Cup second round for the first time on Friday when they defeated Ireland by eight wickets.World number 19 Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, chased down their modest target of 126 with skipper Gerhard Erasmus making an unbeaten 53.
Fans from both the nations have shown immense interest in watching Sunday's game in Dubai as tickets for the key contest were sold out hours after they went on sale early this month.
Ireland and Namibia face off in a knockout clash of the T20 World Cup with a Super 12 berth at stake in Sharjah on Friday. The match will mark the exit for the loser while winners will punch a ticket for the Super 12, which gets under way on Oct.23.