Ten Cate delights after President's Cup recovery

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Thriller: Al Jazira players celebrate.

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.

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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