Arabian Gulf Cup round-up: Al Jazira fight back to earn draw against Al Wahda
Al Jazira 2 Al Wahda 2
Al Shabab 3 Dibba 2
Al Wasl 1 Sharjah 0
ABU DHABI // Al Jazira rallied from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw against city rivals Al Wahda in their Arabian Gulf Cup Group A opener on Saturday night at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium.
Chilean midfielder Jorge Valdivia, and Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue, last season’s top scorer in the Arabian Gulf League and the foreign player of the year, set the platform for Al Wahda with a goal each in the first half.
Valdivia, 32, picked up a long ball inside the area and struck it left footed into the roof of the net for a sixth minute lead. Wahda then twice came close to extending their lead through Tagliabue, but both efforts were smothered by the Jazira defence.
However, Tagliabue, 31, didn’t have to wait long for his goal, as he collected a through pass from Ismail Matar, before shooting past goalkeeper Khalid Al Senani to double the lead on 35 minutes.
Jazira came back strongly after the break, halving the deficit through Mbarak Boussoufa, the Moroccan winger signed in the summer from Lokomotiv Moscow, on 50 minutes. Emirati defender Fares Juma then scored the equaliser eight minutes later.
Wahda suffered a further blow when Valdivia was sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 66th minute, although Jazira’s one man advantage did not last long when, 10 minutes later, Salem Abdulla was given his marching orders.
Ruud Boijmans scored a late winner for Al Shabab to clinch a 3-2 win over Dibba in the same group at the Maktoum bin Rashid stadium.
Henrique Luvennor put Shabab ahead on the ninth minute and struck the equaliser on the 64th after Danilo Cirino scored off a spot kick and then put the visitors ahead on the hour.
Sharjah paid the ultimate price after they failed to score from a spot kick and then conceding an own goal to go down to Al Wasl 1-0 in the early fixture at the Zabeel stadium.
The visitors had a golden opportunity to take the lead after Abdulla Saleh had brought down Jamal Maroof, but their Polish forward Adrian Mierzejewski’s spot kick cannoned off the crossbar in the 14th minute.
They were unlucky when Waleed Ahmed’s effort in the second half from space created by Mierzejewski crashed against the near post before Digao, Sharjah’s Brazilian defender, hooked in a corner into his own net for a 66th minute goal for Wasl.
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Published: September 3, 2016 04:00 AM