Dubai 1 Kalba 1
DUBAI // Kalba continued their recent recovery under new coach Ze Mario with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Dubai last night.
Winners over Dibba Al Fujairah in the last round, the visitors took a surprise lead through Gregory Dufrennes in the 31st minute, but the Dubai captain Ali Hassan equalised six minutes later and the score remained unchanged until the end.
The draw takes Kalba's tally to seven points and they are still 13th in the standings; four of those points have come in the two matches under Mario's watch.
The 11 matches under Dragan Talajic and Lotfi Benzarti had yielded them just three points. Dubai remain in ninth, with 16 points.
Kalba seemed a bit edgy at the start, particularly in defence, and the home side were virtually camped in their own half. Chances came fast, with the clearest of them being Richard Porta's volley on the run in the seventh minute that Mohammed Osman, the Kalba goalkeeper, did well to stop.
The former Al Wasl striker then went agonisingly close with a header in the 11th minute. Three minutes later, the dangerous Simon Pierre Feindouno wove his way into the box and crossed for Hassan Abdelrahman, whose diving header was well anticipated by Osman.
Feindouno then attempted a fancy overhead kick in the 24th minute, but it was a bit far from the intended target and Rene Marsiglia, the Dubai coach, made his displeasure known from the dugout.
Three minutes later, Alhassane Keita found the net - booting home a rebound - but the linesman waved his flag for offside.
With Dubai dominating possession, the Kalba striker Dufrennes was left virtually on his own up front. The impressive Frenchman, however, did find enough support for a burst down the right in the 30th minute and as he attempted a cross, a sliding Mohammed Ismail handled the ball. The referee pointed to the spot and Dufrennes promptly converted to give Kalba the lead.
The advantage, however, lasted only six minutes as Dubai were finally rewarded for their efforts. Osman failed to collect Magro's header, and Ali Hassan was on hand to convert the rebound.
Just as the game headed towards half time, heavy rain fell, and it left the field soggy and slippery under foot.
Both teams struggled with the conditions, but Dubai gradually found their feet and could have taken the lead in the 58th minute. However, despite a desperate slide, Porta failed to meet Feindouno's cross.
Kalba also had a good chance to take the lead again in the 62nd minute following another smart run by Dufrennes, but the Dubai goalkeeper Jamal Abdullah had Ibrahim Saeed's header covered.
Ten minutes later, the Dubai substitute Waleed Khaled had an open goal in front of him after the Kalba goalkeeper had missed a cross, but, embarrassingly, he failed to connect with the ball, sliding over it, and faced a few howls and catcalls from his own fans.
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Published: December 16, 2012 04:00 AM