Al Jazira complete climb to top of Arabian Gulf League

Because their ability to score buckets of goals slightly exceeds their propensity for conceding them, Al Jazira on Friday night completed the first half of their Arabian Gulf League season at the top of the table.
With a 4-2 win over Al Wasl at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Friday, Al Jazira have completed their climb to the top of the Arabian Gulf League. Mostafa Reda / Al Ittihad
With a 4-2 win over Al Wasl at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Friday, Al Jazira have completed their climb to the top of the Arabian Gulf League. Mostafa Reda / Al Ittihad

AL JAZIRA 4 AL WASL 2

Al Jazira - Jucilei 6’, Vucinic 56’, Pitroipa 61’, Mabkhout 73’ Al Wasl - Ederson 45’ (pen), Caio 48’

Red card - Ismail (Al Wasl)

ABU DHABI // Because their ability to score buckets of goals slightly exceeds their propensity for conceding them, Al Jazira on Friday night completed the first half of their Arabian Gulf League season at the top of the table.

Goals by Mirko Vucinic, Jonathan Pitroipa and Ali Mabkhout allowed them to overcome a 2-1 deficit and defeat 10-man Al Wasl 4-2 at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Ten times in their first 13 games, Jazira have conceded at least two goals.

They have played two 4-3 games, two that finished 4-2, one that was 3-3 and two more that were 3-2.

They lead the league with 37 goals, have conceded 26, and only Ajman and Kalba have yielded more.

“Sometimes I think we have to defend two goals instead of one,” said Eric Gerets, the Jazira coach. “In the past it was not like this, my teams received very few goals, really.

“This is an exception this season. So we try to work on it. Maybe something will happen in the transfer market [next month], so I’m waiting.”

He said the club will keep their four expatriate players.

The only change they can make, then, is to acquire an Emirati they believe can tighten up their porous defence.

Gabriel Calderon, the Wasl coach, said his side were doomed by poor work by the officials, led by referee Ammar Ali Al Junaibi.

Calderon said his captain, Waheed Ismail, should not have been sent off in the 33rd minute after being cautioned a second time and that Jazira’s second goal should have been overturned by an offside call.

He said that league officials are not as hard on Jazira and Al Ain as they are on other sides.

Asked if Wasl could still win the league, he said: “I’m sure it is possible, fighting for the league, but a red card – how many red cards for Al Jazira and Al Ain? How many? Look in the statistics.”

Jazira and Al Ain each have had one player sent off this season; Wasl’s total is six reds.

“It’s impossible,” Calderon said. “Good team, good players, impossible to fight for the league.”

Gerets had no sympathy, not when he believed Wasl’s first goal, a penalty by Ederson, came on an incorrect handled-ball call on Vucinic.

“The two yellow cards, there’s nothing to say about it because [Ismail] deserved to have these cards. I think my colleague, he can be very disappointed with the result, but the result in my opinion is correct. He cannot blame the referee. They have to look at the mirror and at themselves.”

Elsewhere, Luiz Henrique’s goal 20 minutes from time gave Emirates their fourth win of the season as they defeated bottom side Kalba 1-0.

Champions Al Ahli will seek to kick-start their spluttering title defence at home to Baniyas today, and Al Wahda will look to bounce back from losing their past two games when they face Al Nasr. Today’s other game sees Fujairah take on Ajman.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 19, 2014 04:00 AM

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