Al Ain and Al Ahli’s sizzling rivalry fizzles to goalless draw in first leg

Neither Al Ain nor Al Ahli could muster an advantage on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Asian Champions League last 16 tie. Maryam Al Shamsi reports.

Mohaned Salem, right, of Al Ain challenges Ismail Al Hammadi of Al Ahli in the air during their Asian Champions League last 16 first leg match on Wednesday in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National / May 20, 2015
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DUBAI // The first leg of the Asian Champions League last 16 tie between UAE rivals Al Ahli and Al Ain fizzled out into a 0-0 at the Rashid Stadium on Wednesday night.

It leaves the game delicately poised ahead of next week’s second leg in Al Ain.

Al Ahli dominated the game from the opening whistle, with better possession but they came up against Al Ain’s solid defence.

The first real chance of the game came Al Ahli’s way when Everton Ribeiro set up Majed Hassan. However, the Emirati’s first-time shot was blocked by Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.

Al Ain also had their chances with Asamoah Gyan firing two efforts on goal, and Ibrahim Diaky coming close.

In the second half, the game heated up when Oussama Assaidi tackled Omar Abdulrahman, angering the UAE international. Both players received yellow cards.

Al Ahli had the biggest chance to take a precious 1-0 lead into the second leg when forward Ismail Al Hammadi hit the crossbar in the 74th minute, but Al Ain held on for the draw.

The two teams will meet in the next game at Hazza bin Zayed stadium next Wednesday.

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