Jazira were utterly rampant in the capital as they tore the champions – lying in second place in the Arabian Gulf League table, four points ahead of them prior to kick-off – to shreds in a ruthless display.
The hosts could not have asked for a better start to the clash with Ernest Asante opening the scoring in the third minute after being set up by Ali Mabkhout, who then doubled the lead just before the half-hour mark.
Former Arsenal academy prospect Nacer Barazite, who had replaced the excellent, injured Khalfan Mubarak, and earlier saw an effort ruled out for offside, made amends when he received Mabkhout’s pass and curled home superbly beyond Khalid Essa.
The Boss reduced the deficit before the break through Ismail Ahmed’s bullet header but that was as good as it got for the visitors, and the home fans were again celebrating early in the second half when Asante latched on to Sebastian Siani’s through ball before curling another fine finish past Essa. Barazite then returned the favour to Mabkhout to make it 5-1 for the Pride of Abu Dhabi on a night that will live long in the memory of their fans.
The result, which saw Jazira reclaim third place and go to within a point of Al Ain, ensured they completed the league double over the Garden City side, and Hertog was delighted with what he saw.
“I am delighted and very proud of my team for the way they played,” said Hertog during the post-match press conference.
“We played excellent football and created many chances against a very good side. We did our homework on Al Ain and the players executed the plans perfectly. I must compliment my players on their outstanding performance as it was a much deserved victory.
“Every single player did fantastic and am pleased with all of them. This will give us a lot of confidence for the next game.”
He added: “I am also happy that we had young players like Mohammed Al Attas, Abdalla Ramadan and Khalifa Al Hammadi, who gave their best. They showed they can play at the top level in this league and it’s great to see them develop.”
Despite claiming the three points, Mubarak, Al Attas and Ramadan all suffered injuries and Hertog is hopeful the trio can feature again this season.
“We have to wait and see,” he said. “Khalfan could be out for a couple of weeks while Al Attas and Ramadan should be fit soon. We have had injuries before but this is part of football and gives other players in the team to play.”
Jazira will play their next match away to Ittihad Kalba on April 13.
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