Arabian Gulf Cup: Kalba and Baniyas off to winning starts

Mlapa double downs Al Jazira as Pedro pulls the strings in Baniyas victory over Hatta

Kalba vs Jazira. Courtesy Pro League Committee or PLC
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Peniel Mlapa scored either side of half time to lead Kalba to a 2-1 win over Al Jazira on the opening night of the Arabian Gulf Cup.

The Togo-born German forward put the home side ahead in the 23rd minute and regained the lead in added time after Milos Kosanovic equalised on the hour-mark.

Kalba put the visitors under pressure from the outset and created a few early chances even before Mlapa broke the deadlock.

After picking up a pass from Majid Rashif, Mlapa beat two defenders before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the right corner.

Mansour Al Baloushi could have doubled the lead early in the second half but the Emirati midfielder's shot failed to trouble Abdulrahman Al Ameri in the Al Jazira goal.

Jazira pulled level through a Kosanovic free kick. The Serbian defender's shot had too much on it for Kalba keeper Jamal Abdulla, who got fingertips to the ball but failed to stop it residing in the back of the net.

The winner came courtesy of Mlapa's brilliance in the box. The Kalba striker bought the ball down on his chest in the Jazira area before rounding Kosanovic and firing his shot past Al Ameri.

Marcel Keizer’s side will have the opportunity to rescue the tie when they play the return leg at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium on November 11.

Elsewhere, Joao Pedro scored and made an assist for Baniyas to secure a 2-0 win over Hatta.

The Brazilian put Baniyas ahead after only four minutes and then sent a high cross from for Mohammed Al Hammadi to head home the second six minutes before half time.