Jucilei added time winner lifts ‘lucky’ Al Jazira over Baniyas

Jucilei tapped in the winner from a Mirko Vucinic cross after Jonathan Pitroipa had blocked a half-hearted clearance to lift Al Jazira over Baniyas 3-2 on Friday night in Arabian Gulf League play.

Baniyas, in white, played well but fell to a lucky strike from Al Jazira, in red, at the end.  Shadi Malkawi / Al Ittihad
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Baniyas - Stracqualursi 43', Saleh 54' Al Jazira - Vucinic 28' (pen), Lanzini 51', Jucilei 90'+2

BANIYAS // Al Jazira were "lucky" to come away with three points against Baniyas, according to their manager, Eric Gerets, after Jucilei scored with almost the last kick of the game to seal a 3-2 win in the Arabian Gulf League on Friday night.

“At the end of the match, I walked up to the Baniyas coach [Luis Garcia] to say we were lucky on the night,” Gerets said.

“We have also lost many points by conceding late goals, and tonight we got two extra points, even when we didn’t deserve it. So we can only be happy for our players, even if we didn’t play a good second half.”

With moments left in injury time, Jucilei tapped in the winner from a Mirko Vucinic cross after Jonathan Pitroipa had blocked a half-hearted clearance from left-back Darwish Juma, which created the opening.

Earlier, Vucinic, the league’s top scorer, put the visitors ahead with a penalty kick after Pitroipa, chasing a ball on the right side of the box, was felled by goalkeeper Mohsin Al Hashemi.

Argentine striker Denis Stracqualursi equalised two minutes before the break with a looping header off a dipping cross from Bandar Al Ahbabi.

Jazira regained the lead through Manuel Lanzini at the 51-minute mark with a dribble and shot from just inside the box. Yet it lasted just three minutes before Haboush Saleh stole in at the back post to make it 2-2.

And just when the game seemed headed for a draw, Brazilian midfielder Jucilei struck to send the travelling Jazira fans and their camp into wild celebrations.

“We played well for the first 30 minutes, but lost control for 10 minutes,” Gerets said.

“Baniyas are playing good football at the moment. I can only give a big compliment to our opponent. They played a good game and were not lucky on the night.”

Garcia felt an injury to Stracqualursi was largely to blame for the defeat. Stracqualursi and Jazira goalkeeper Ali Kasheif picked up injuries after a collision shortly before the break and were replaced by Korean Kim Jung-woo and Khaled Al Senani in the second half.

“We are playing with one striker and when we lost him for the entire second half, it became difficult for us,” Garcia said. “We are waiting for the mid-season transfer window to open so we can strengthen the areas we need to sign up some players.

“It was a disappointing result for us, but I am pleased with the performance of my players. I hope they can continue playing at the same level. We were up against a strong team, and sometimes the best team on the night cannot win.”



League champions Al Ahli suffered a second straight defeat and are now winless in four games after losing 2-1 at Dubai rivals Al Nasr on Friday night.

Ahmed Khalil opened the scoring for Ahli but Australian midfielder Brett Holman equalised on the stroke of half time and Senegalese forward Ibrahima Toure struck the winner 16 minutes from time.

Ahli, who lost 1-0 at home to Emirates in their last match, also had Chilean playmaker Luis Jimenez sent off in injury time.

The result leaves Ahli nine points off leaders Al Wahda and could increase speculation about the future of manager Cosmin Olaroiu, who is reported to have received a big-money offer to coach Saudi Arabia’s national team.

There were no such problems for Ahli's bitter rivals Al Ain, who thrashed Kalba 4-1.

Luis Leal scored for Kalba in the 18th minute, but Mohammed Abdulrahman made it 1-1 almost immediately.

After the break, a spell of three goals in six minutes wrapped up the points as Ibrahim Diaky and then two from Asamoah Gyan moved Al Ain into fifth position in the table.

Zlatko Dalic’s are five points behind Wahda, but have two games in hand on the rest of the table due to their Champions League commitments earlier this season. If they win those games in hand, starting with Wahda at home on Wednesday, they will go top.

- The National staff

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