Al Jazira head coach Damien Hertog felt his side deserved more after their defeat to league leaders Sharjah on Friday night.
Hertog’s side were beaten 3-2 in a close encounter at Sharjah Stadium – a damaging defeat in terms of their chances of Arabian Gulf League title glory.
They went into the game in third place and nine points adrift of the King, with hopes of cutting down the gap to six with a win. But Sharjah instead opened up the gap to 12, while Shabab Al Ahli Dubai’s 3-1 win over Ittihad Kalba saw them jump into second and dump Jazira down to fourth.
Jazira conceded all three goals in the first half, with two coming from the penalty spot courtesy of Igor Coronado as Sharjah went 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes.
Khalfan Mubarak reduced the deficit for Jazira but they found themselves further behind after Sharjah took advantage of Nacer Barazite’s slip to strike again through former Al Wahda man Mohamed Al Shehhi. Fares Juma added a second after half-time for the Pride of Abu Dhabi but despite controlling the game, Hertog’s side could not add to their tally.
While Hertog backs his players to learn from their mistakes, he was satisfied with the team’s work ethic.
“It was a very exciting match as there were a lot of chances and goals,” said Hertog during the post-match press conference.
“The result was not good for us though. We made some mistakes which saw us concede the goals. But mistakes happen and this was not to do with our game strategy. I was pleased with how we got back into the game as well as creating a number of chances.”
He added: “We dominated the game with possession and kept Sharjah’s attackers, who are very skilful, relatively quiet. We knew we had to be at the top of our game against Sharjah and we were as a team as I cannot fault the efforts of the team performance.
But I’m sure the players will learn from their mistakes in time for the next game.”
Hertog also defended Ali Mabkhout’s performance, saying it’s unfair to expect the club’s top-scorer to find the back of the net every week.
“Ali Mabkhout always creates a lot of chances but that didn’t happen today,” added the Dutchman.
“Sharjah had a lot of players behind the ball which made it difficult not just for him but the other players. But Al Jazira is not just about Ali Mabkhout, we have other players in the squad who are really talented and can create chances and score the goals for us.”
Jazira will be back in action on Wednesday, April 4, when they host Al Ain in an Abu Dhabi derby and a game that will likely extinguish any title hopes for the losing team.
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