Al Jazira lost a two-goal lead but came back with an injury-time winner to take all three points in an extraordinary 4-3 victory at Al Shabab last night.
Ali Mabkhout was the hero with a hat-trick, while Manuel Lanzini also scored for the visitors, putting them top of the table. Shabab’s initial rally brought two goals from Henrique Luvannor before a strike from Azizbek Haydarov put them ahead.
Shabab shaded the opening stages with some good attacking moves but, from a Shabab corner, the visitors broke away and stole the lead on the counter-attack in the 21st minute.
Mirko Vucinic cleared straight to Mabkhout and the UAE striker raced clear from Manei Mohamed to thump an emphatic finish beyond Salem Abdulla. Five minutes later, Jazira coach Eric Gerets’ side were 2-0 up as Lanzini slotted a calm finish into the back of the net.
Henrique headed home to cut the deficit to 2-1 and give the hosts hope before the break.
Just after the interval, Shabab had their equaliser. Carlos Villanueva cut the ball back in the area for Edgar Bruno to hold up with his back to goal and set up Haydarov to strike a deflected shot beyond Ali Kasheif. On the hour, Shabab were 3-2 ahead, Luvannor starting and finishing a clever passing move with Bruno.
The match showed no sign of slowing down and, just five minutes after falling behind, Jazira struck again to get back on level terms once more.
A corner taken quickly by Lanzini was flicked on in the area by Musallem Fayez and tapped in at the back post by Mabkhout.
As the clock ticked down, a Villanueva shot hit the woodwork.
An injury to Kasheif saw the Jazira goalkeeper forced off with five minutes to go, and the game took another turn in the third minute of stoppage time. Jazira found a last-gasp winner, Mabkhout completing his hat-trick with a header going in off the underside of the crossbar.
In Dubai, Al Wasl secured a 3-1 home win over struggling Fujairah, thanks to goals from Caio, Ali Salmeen and Ederson.
Fujairah, whose consolation goal was scored by Mohamed Khalfan, are just above the relegation zone.
After a goalless first half, Wasl needed just four minutes to open the scoring through Caio. In the 63rd minute, Salmeen made it 2-0 with a long-range strike.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Ederson cut in from the left and beat goalkeeper Ayyoub Al Marzouqi with a curling shot in at his near post. With five minutes remaining, Fujairah managed to pull a goal back via substitute Khalfan, who netted a fine finish.
Elsewhere, Khalefa Ibrahim’s 49th-minute goal netted Al Dhafra a 1-0 win at Sharjah.
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