Player ratings as Al Jazira beat Urawa Reds to set date with Real Madrid

Matt Jones 9/12/2017
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Al Jazira beat Urawa Reds by 1-0

The Asian champions vanquished, it’s now on to the small matter of European kings Real Madrid for Al Jazira.

Ali Mabkhout’s solitary goal was enough to beat East Asia’s finest as Jazira usurped the previous poor efforts of Al Ahli (2009) and Al Wahda (2010) in this competition.

Jazira should have been behind just before the half-hour mark. Waturu Endo released Yuki Moto who delivered a superb cross into the centre where Shinzo Koroki had ghosted behind the defence. The veteran inexplicably ballooned over with only Ali Khaseif to beat from inside the six yard box.

It seemed to provide the spark the hometown team needed. Striker Mabkhout broke down the right and his low cross needed to be toed behind by Japan’s Shusaku Nishikawa.

That excited the home crowd and they were almost celebrating the opener from the resulting corner when Mbark Boussoufa tricked his way past Shinya Yajima, Musallem Fayez met the cross and his header was palmed behind by Nishikawa.

The usually lethal Mabkhout cursed himself when his touch let him down after an intelligent Mohammed Al Attas lofted pass . They’d gained the ascendency at the break and soon after the restart, Jazira gained the lead, too.

Brazilian Romarinho, who rocketed Jazira to this stage with the only goal against Auckland on Wednesday, feathered a fine througball to release Ali Mabkhout on goal. There’s no deadlier finisher in UAE football and he finished with aplomb, nutmegging Nishikawa.

A response from the Reds duly arrived, Tomoaki Makino’s header was heading in before deflecting behind off Yaqoob Yousef.

They almost equalised out of nothing when Khaseif spilled Muto’s tame strike but as a startled Koroki struggled to set himself, Khaseif made amends.

Apart from that there was precious little created by Takafumi Hori’s troops thereafter. A subdued Rafael Silva awoke at the death to clip a post, but Jazira soaked up the pressure with relative ease and were well worth victory.

Here’s a look at the Al Jazira player ratings.

Ali Khaseif 7

The UAE stopper was a safe pair of hands apart from his blunder that almost saw Urawa level. But after making the error, he exonerated himself with a save

Musallem Fayez 7

One of Ten Cate’s dependables, probably why he’s been shifted to right-back for the last two games. Fiercely committed as usual, didn’t put a foot wrong

Mohamed Ali Ayed 6

Hasn’t played a lot of football this season and in the team due to injuries, but was committed. One crunching tackle typified Jazira’s hunger

Fares Juma 7

Came to the capital last summer from Al Ain where he couldn’t get a game. Mesmerising as he’s been a rock for Jazira. Was solid as ever here

Juma continues to excel in the defence and put up a solid performance.

Juma continues to excel in the defence and put up a solid performance.

Salim Rashid 6

Has established himself on both Jazira’s right and left side of defence. Defended stoutly but also offered plenty going forward. He may not be special but he’s reliable

Salem Abdulla 6

Eyebrows were raised when he was brought in last summer by the club from Al Wasl. Is a perfect foil for Rashid on the right, both are solid if unspectacular

Mohmed Al Attas 7

The versatile youngster belied his inexperienced years to put in a mature display. His insightful throughball to Mabkhout could have yielded a goal

Yaqoob Yousef 7

Received his customary yellow card, albeit for a perfect tackle. His usual busy self, harrying opposing players when in possession, if unspectacular himself with the ball

Romarinho 9

Has shone briefly since a summer switch from Qatar and contributed with goals. But his pass for Mabkhout’s goal was his most important contribution yet

The Brazilian was a live-wire throughout the night.

The Brazilian was a live-wire throughout the night.

Mbark Boussoufa 8

The metronomic Moroccan was at his devilish best. Probing Urawa with insightful passes and dragging defenders out of position for colleagues to exploit.

Ali Mabkhout 8

Was pretty poor up until his goal. But if there’s one player you’d pick in UAE football to finish a chance like he had, it’s the most deadly finisher in the Arabian Gulf League

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Brazil's Gremio celebrate with the trophy after winning the Copa Libertadores 2017 final football match against Argentina's Lanus at Lanus stadium in Lanus, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 29, 2017.  Gremio won 2-1 to become the champion of the Copa Libertadores 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA        (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

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