Al Jazira boss Henk ten Cate couldn’t believe what he had seen after an epic quarter-final against Sharjah in the President’s Cup.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi triumphed 6-5 on penalties on Thursday after a rollercoaster contest which saw them recover from 2-0 down in normal time and 4-2 in arrears during extra-time.
They were indebted to both Thiago Neves for a superb hat-trick and UAE No. 1 Ali Khaseif’s vital save in the shootout from Bader Abdulrahman.
“This match was exciting and implausible,” said the 61-year-old Dutchman, whose reward is a last-four clash with Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli next weekend. “The Jazira players did an exceptional job. The game should be a reference for all regarding the nature of cup games.”
Success in the UAE’s premier cup competition would end a four-year trophy drought for Jazira and partly salvage a dreadful campaign.
Meanwhile, Al Wasl stand-in Salmeen Abdulrahman pointed the finger at the officials after a controversial 4-2 extra-time loss to 2014 winners Al Ain.
In case you weren't aware of what happened last night, Al Jazira's haphazard season continued with this absurdity..https://t.co/qcKyTDohpr— Matt Jones (@MattJones360) May 13, 2016
Doubles from Omar Abdulrahman and Douglas helped the Boss through, with Ali Salmeen and Caio Canedo’s equalisers ultimately counting for nothing.
The Cheetahs were denied a penalty for left-back Saeed Musabbeh’s handball on 90 minutes, while their centre-back Hassan Zahran was harshly punished for the same offence at the other end two minutes after the restart.
Assistant coach Abdulrahman – standing in for Gabriel Calderon, who is officially on a “two-day vacation” but has been sacked – said: “The two penalties were the turning points. We should have been given a penalty, and they should not.”
For Al Ain, boss Zlatko Dalic was content to tick off another fixture. His side now play Bani Yas.
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