The story of the match
Yaser Matar’s goal in the last minute of added time gave Al Jazira a 3-2 win over city rivals Al Wahda and kept their title challenge on track in the Arabian Gulf League.
Jazira went into the second half leading 2-0 courtesy of Mirko Vucinic and Ali Mabkhout.
Then Sebastian Tagliabue scored twice, the second from a spot kick, for the visitors to draw level going into injury time. Just when it looked like the game was headed for a draw, though, Matar struck.
Matar, who came on as a substitute for the injured midfielder Khamis Ismail in the 24th minute, picked up a quick throw-in before smashing a fiercely struck right-footer towards the far corner of the net for a dramatic victory last night at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium.
Jazira drew first blood. Basheer Saeed’s long throw into the area was cleared by Wahda defender Hussain Fadhel, but it fell into the path of Thiago Neves, who lobbed it towards the goal only to see it punched away by goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani.
That then fell to Abdulla Mousa, who floated the ball towards the goalmouth for Vucinic to expertly head it towards the far corner of the net with Al Hosani out of position.
Neves then split the Wahda defence with an immaculate overhead pass to set up Mabkhout inside the area. Played in one-on-one with Al Hosani, the UAE international gleefully tucked the ball into the back of the net to double the lead.
Wahda pushed hard early in the second half, and Hamdan Al Kamali’s effort bounced off the crossbar after a free kick from Denilson crashed against the wall of defenders.
Tagliabue pulled one back when Jazira keeper Ali Kasheif spilt a simple shot into his net, and the Argentine later converted a spot kick awarded against Jefferson Farfan for a foul.
Man of the match
Jazira needed a hero to arrive, and Yaser Matar emerged from nowhere to strike the winner in the dying seconds of the match.
What the managers said
Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, said: “I am not happy the way we played in the second half. The players were thinking they had already won the game and this attitude must change.
“We started well and played a good first half. I can’t say much about the second half. We were fortunate to win at the end.”
Javier Aguirre, the Wahda coach, said: “We witnessed a good game of football. We made some mistakes and conceded the goals, but that’s not unusual in a match. Jazira, too, made a few mistakes and we scored. I can’t be unhappy with the team’s performance. We still have a lot of work to improve.”
The National’s verdict
The manner in which Jazira came back to win the three points in the dying stages of the game showed the character of a team that can be regarded as a strong title challenger.
Body: Having begun their campaign in disappointment, beaten 2-1 at home by Al Wasl and followed by a narrow 2-1 away win over Sharjah, Jazira seem to be getting their act together.
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