A missed Fabio De Lima penalty and conceding two minutes after they had made the breakthrough tells the tale of Al Wasl’s fading Arabian Gulf League title hopes.
In reality this point could have easily been a defeat had former Al Ahli forward Ciel not squandered two guilt-edged chances for Ittihad Kalba, who edged closer to survival with a 17th point from 19 games.
From the moment usually prolific Brazilian talisman De Lima fired his tame spot kick at Kalba goalkeeper Ibrahim Essa, you could feel an air of unease sweep across Zabeel Stadium.
They were euphoric when Ronaldo Mendes opened the scoring with a deserved goal 15 minutes into the second half, tucking in neatly after Caio Canedo’ had bamboozled opposite number Ali Saeed.
It was, after all, Mendes who had won the first half penalty after being wiped out by clumsy centre back Yasser Abdullah, before rocking the Kalba crossbar with a fierce, dipping drive after finding space on the edge of the box.
But, just as the noise levels began to rise they were silenced by a truly magnificent goal from one-time West Ham striker Modibo Maiga.
The 29-year- old majestically controlled a long ball, before shrugging off his marker, turning and firing in a crisp equaliser under Humaid Abdulla.
The Cheetahs’ fans fumed but it could have been far worse. Ciel ballooned horribly over after being set clear in the first half by a beautiful first-time pass, while the Brazilian again skewed wide when released in the 74th minute.
De Lima, uncharacteristically off colour in front of goal, wasted another glorious chance on the stroke of half time, his weak effort parried by the alert Essa.
The man with 20 AGL goals to his name this season must have thought redemption was his with nine minutes remaining but his beautiful arced shot beat Essa but also the far post.
There was still time for a Kalba winner but Wasl skipper Waheed Ismail recovered brilliantly to thwart Bakary Kone after the hosts had failed to clear.
Mendes brought a late save out of Essa, with Caio unable to prod the rebound home, with the result leaving the Cheetahs 10 points adrift of Al Jazira with seven games remaining.