Diaky and Al Kathiri fire Al Ain to Arabian Gulf Cup opening victory

Al Ain began their campaign on a winning note on Friday night, topping Kalba 3-2 after squandering a 2-0 first-half lead in the Arabian Gulf Cup.

Ibrahim Diaky of Al Ain celebrates a goal against Kalba on Friday night. Photo Courtesy: Arshad Khan / Arabian Gulf League
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Saeed Al Kathiri's late strike got Al Ain's campaign for the new season off to a winning start.

The Garden City club had surrendered a 2-0 half time lead to Kalba and it looked like the visitors had done enough to return with a point until Al Kathiri struck for the home side to emerge 3-2 winners last night at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

Ibrahim Diaky gave Al Ain an 11th-minute lead and their Brazilian striker Douglas doubled it heading into the break.

Kalba hit back in the second half through Yasser Abdullah in the 59th minute and the Romanian Mihai Alexandru five minutes later to cancel Al Ain’s lead in their Arabian Gulf Cup Group B opener.

In other matches, Khalifa Mubarak's strike in added time of the first half was enough for Al Nasr to get the better of Al Ahli 1-0 at the Al Maktoum Stadium.

In the early game, Makhete Diop fired a late winner to steer Al Dhafra to victory over the promoted Hatta 2-1 at the Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium.

The Senegalese forward made amends to a missed spot kick earlier to give his side all three points after Issiaka Ouedraogo’s was on target to cancel Khamis Al Ajmani’s own goal that gave Dhafra the lead on the hour.

The home side were awarded a spot kick when Mohammed Malallah tripped Abdulla Al Jaberi but Diop’s effort was blocked by the Hatta goalkeeper Obaid Raihan.

The deadlock was broken when Diop’s effort on a corner from Ibrahim Saeed deflected off Hatta defender Khamis Al Ajmani into his own net for a 60th minute lead.

The visitors had struck the equaliser after Abdulla Murad was brought down by a clumsy challenge from the Dhafra substitute Abdullah Abdulqader.

Ouedraogo stepped in to fire the equaliser eight minutes from time before Diop’s winner on the 90th minute took Al Dhafra to the top of Group A.

In Saturday's matches, Al Wasl meet Sharjah at the Zabeel Stadium in the early match followed by Al Jazira at home to city rivals Al Wahda at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Al Shabab play Dibba at the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium.

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