Asian Champions League: Al Jazira continue disappointing run with loss to Lekhwiya

Al Jazira’s miserable Asian Champion League campaign continued with a 3-1 defeat to Lekhwiya of Qatar on Tuesday at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Lekhwiya defender Ahmed Yasser, centre, evades a tackle by Al Jazira's Khalfan Mubarak, left, during their Asian Champions League match on April 25, 2017, at the Mohammed Bin Zayed stadiun in Abu Dhabi. Nezar Balout / AFP
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Al Jazira 1 Lekhwiya 3

Al Jazira: Bopussoufa (17’)

Lekhwiya: Nam (27’ PEN, 62’), Msakni (77’)

ABU DHABI // Al Jazira’s miserable Asian Champion League campaign continued with a 3-1 defeat to Lekhwiya of Qatar on Tuesday at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Henk ten Cate’s side lost for a fourth time in five matches in Asia’s premier club competition to remain firmly rooted to the bottom of Group B with one point. With just one match remaining – in two weeks’ time against Esteghlal Khuzestan in Iran – they have no chance of joining Al Ain, and most probably Al Ahli, in the last 16.

To compound the Abu Dhabi club’s misery, Fares Juma was sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence.

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Nam Tae-hee scored a goal in each half and Youssef Msakni added a late third for the visitors after Mbark Boussoufa had put Jazira ahead from the penalty spot with just 17 minutes played.

For Jazira manager Ten Cate, whose side are set to be crowned Arabian Gulf League champions on Saturday if they can win their match in Hatta, the priority has always been about securing over a second UAE league title.

“We started well and we took the lead. But we conceded a penalty at a crucial period of the game to allow Lekhwiya into the game,” said the Dutchman.

“They scored again to take the lead and then we had to play the last 25 minutes with 10 players after Fares was sent off. It became difficult after that.

“It was a disappointing campaign in the ACL as our priority from the onset was to win the Arabian Gulf League. We can take these games in the ACL as an experience and we’ll be back for the 2018 continental championship more prepared.”

The match started well enough for the hosts as they took an early lead. Chico Flores felled Khalfan Mubarak and Boussoufa stepped forward to score from 12 yards.

However, that lead lasted only 10 minutes as the visitors earned a penalty themselves when Mussalam Fayez brought down and Nam in the area.

Lekhwiya nearly took the lead when Karim Boudiaf rattled the framework with a power-packed header off a cross from Luiz Junior.

Brazilian Ailton Almeida tested the reflexes of Lekhwiya goalkeeper Qasem Burhan at the start of the second half with a stinging right foot shot after being picked out by Boussoufa’s cross.

The visitors then started to exert their own pressure with a series of raids on Jazira’s goal. Boudiaf and Flores came close to scoring but it was Nam who put them ahead just past the hour-mark. Msakni sent a beautifully weighted through pass and the South Korean blasted it with a left footed shot that gave Ali Kasheif no chance.

Jazira suffered a huge blow when Juma was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. The visitors then went on to increase their lead on 77 minutes with Msakni getting in on the scoring act by placing his low shot in the bottom left corner.​

“We came here looking for a win and are happy we achieved our goal. This puts us in the round of 16 in the ACL with a game still left,” said Lekhwiya manager Djamal Belmadi.

apassela@thenational.ae

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