Al Ain 2-1 Al Hilal: The Boss win on the night but AFC CL dream ends

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Valiant in defeat: Al Ain battled to victory but the first leg deficit proved to great.

A late rally from 10-man Al Ain proved in vain as the Boss secured victory on the night against Al Hilal but missed out on a first AFC Champions League final since 2005 with a 4-2 aggregate defeat.

The Boss never flinched in their pursuit despite seeking to redress a daunting deficit after a 3-0 first-leg reversal and losing star striker Asamoah Gyan to a 70th-minute red card.

The two-footed tackle from behind on Salem Al Dawsari was reckless, the Ghana international's wild refusal to repeatedly leave the pitch was unsightly.

The deafening chants of "Yes we can" from the supporters at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium were given extra vigour early as the 10th minute when midfielder Lee Myung-Joo ghosted in to headed home an Omar Abdulrahman free-kick.

Hilal had not conceded in their eight previous matches in Asia's premier club competition, this run ensuring their confidence was not rocked by going behind on the night.

The visitor's firm foundations were almost shaken soon after. Goalkeeper Abdullah Al Sdairy flapped a harmless Miroslav Stoch cross onto Gyan's head, only to secure instant redemption by denying the Ghana captain a 13th goal in this year's tournament.

Al Ain continued to push, their continental aspirations spurring them on to launch waves of attacks against opponents who were happy to dig in and cause panic on the counter.

Progression, however distant, remained possible until the lethal Nassir Al Shamrani had a chance delivered to him in the 65th-minute he was never going to miss.

The striker flicked high from close range for his 10th goal in this year's tournament after a combination of Thiago Neves, who excelled, and Nawaf Al Abaid sent him clear.

With away goals counting double, a first ACL crown since 2003 for the Boss was gone. They refused to exit without a fight, this maxim taken too literally by Gyan who could now face an extended suspension.

Despite being a man down, Al Ain exhibited redoubtable character. Jires Kembo-Ekoko chested in on the line after the rampaging Mohamed Ahmed was found by Omar Abdulrahman.

Both sides had chances with the game now understandably stretched until the final whistle brought ecstasy for the conqueror and despair for the vanquished.

The overjoyed Hilal support unravelled a "Who's next?" banner at the death. On this form, Western Sydney Wanderers or FC Seoul face a huge task to stop them.

Most popular

Al Wahda drop first points of the season in Sharjah draw

Jon Turner 30/09/2014
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Table toppers: Al Wahda won their first three games before their draw with Sharjah.

Al Wahda were inches away from extending their perfect start to the season, although Adil Hermach’s last-gasp strike cannoned off the crossbar to ensure the early leaders were held to a 1-1 draw by Sharjah at Al Nahyan Stadium.

Wanderley Monteiro’s opener for Sharjah was swiftly cancelled out by Sebastian Tagliabue after a bizarre spell that saw the Argentine take his penalty three times, miss twice and score with the final rebound.

After a goalless second half, Hermach almost came to Wahda’s rescue and while his powerful long-range effort had Mohamed Yousif beaten in the Sharjah goal, the crossbar proved the ultimate last line of defence for the visitors.

Al Wahda remain top of the league standings but only on goal difference after Al Shabab moved level on points following a comfortable 2-0 win at newly-promoted Ittihad Kalba.

For Sharjah, the result continues their improved run of form, the well-deserved point follows a battering of Kalba that was preceded by back-to-back defeats.

Indeed, it was the visitors that broke the deadlock after a frenetic opening half an hour. A long up-field punt was met by Emirati forward Yousif Saeed who did well to flick the ball onto Wanderley, but the Brazilian still had work to do.

Surrounded by three Sharjah defenders, Wanderley somehow managed to twist and turn his way into space before unleashing a fine finish into the bottom corner. It was a fine piece of forward play by Wanderley but his effort was certainly helped by some severely poor defending by Sharjah.

The King’s lead was not to last long though as seven minutes later Al Wahda were awarded a penalty when Salem Saleh was fouled in the area. The penalty decision was straightforward, what followed was certainly not.

Al Wahda talisman Tagliabue slotted the initial penalty home in style only for referee Mauricio Ramos to order a retake for encroachment in the area. Tagliabue’s second effort was downright awful – the Argentine scuffing his effort wide – but again Ramos called for it to be retaken for the same offence.

Tagliabue’s third and final effort was saved by Yousif only for the Argentine to pounce on the rebound and fire home for his third goal of the season.

After the break, Wanderley had the chance to double his tally for the evening but his header from Leandro Lima’s free-kick sailed narrowly wide of the post.

Tagliabue and Mohamed Al Shehhi were both handed decent chances for Al Wahda but the second half lacked the energy and intensity of the first 45 minutes.

The brightest action of the second half took place on the touchline when Al Wahda coach Jose Peseiro sent to the stands before Hermach almost snatched it for the hosts in the dying stages.

Most popular

Al Dhafra appoint Marin Ion to replace sacked Karabeg

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
New man in: Marin Ion will take charge of Al Dhafra four games into the new season.

The Arabian Gulf League has claimed its first managerial casualty of the season after Al Dhafra chose to dismiss Anel Karabeg and bring in Romanian Marin Ion.

Karabeg, 52, was promoted from reserve coach this summer after two years with the club. The Bosnian's last game on Monday saw striker Makhete Diop bury a 93rd-minute penalty to claim a 3-3 draw with Al Jazira – their fourth in four consecutive top-flight matches under his guidance.

Replacement Marin is to begin work on Wednesday. He stepped down as Kuwait SC boss in April, bringing an end to a successful spell in which he was named manager of the year in 2013 after he claimed the Kuwaiti Premier League and added a second successive AFC Cup.

The well-travelled 59 year old has worked in the UAE before at Dubai Club in 2011.

Karabeg's position was first questioned last week after changes were put in place to swap two foreign foreign players for Argentina international winger Matias Defederico and Brazilian forward Paulo de Oliveira.

Thus far, Defederico's replacement Youssef Kaddioui struck an impressive debut brace while De Oliveira started against Jazira. Negotiations about a second new acquisition and who will depart are close to completion ahead of Thursday's closure of the transfer window.

Prior to the start of the AGL campaign, Fujairah drafted in Iraqi Abdulwahab Abdulqadir on September 2 after Dzemal Hadziabdic departed.

Most popular