The contest got off to an even start before the visitors showed their quality against the bottom-placed outfit by taking the lead in the 22nd minute when Caio’s ball in was flicked on by Khalid Al Baloushi and finished by Amer Abdulrahman.
The hosts did put up a fight and forced Khalid Essa into a couple of superb saves but The Boss squandered chances of their own to extend their lead. Caio even had the ball in the back of the net 15 minutes from time but his effort was ruled out for offside.
The Brazilian made no mistake in stoppage time though when he latched on to a quick throw-in before out-witting the keeper and scoring the second to seal the win.
Here we take a closer look at Caio’s performance.
Struggling Dibba were eager for a result in their bid to avoid relegation and therefore started this encounter pretty fiercely. They went toe-to-toe with Al Ain and even made some early inroads down the left flank where Yasen Al Bakhet caused Saeed Juma plenty of problems.
Visiting keeper Essa also needed to come to his side’s aid on occasion. His first-half save to deny Driss Fettouhi’s header from a Yasser Abdullah free-kick was outstanding. He then denied Abdullah in a one-on-one in the second period.
However, Al Ain had plenty of firepower of their own and Caio was the livewire in their attack. The forward created plenty of openings and even set up the goal for Abdulrahman.
In truth, the away side should’ve been out of side but for some poor finishing with Ruben Ribeiro guilty of fluffing his lines on a few occasions.
Caio did ensure victory with his strike at the death but the Dibba players didn’t take kindly to the quick freekick and Fettouhi was issued a straight red for throwing the ball at the referee in frustration shortly before the final whistle.
GOT RIGHT – CONSTANT THREAT
Apart from a couple of lapses in defence, Al Ain had begun proceedings rather well in possession. However, they needed someone to take the initiative in order to put the hosts under pressure and Caio answered their call.
The Brazilian proved to be the catalyst as his mesmeric dribbling and excellent close control sparked Al Ain into life. Caio was able to attract the attentions of two or three Dibba defenders at a time, dragging them out of position and creating space for his team-mates to exploit.
His quick feet came to the fore in the 22nd minute when he beat his man on the left flank before sending in a dangerous low ball into the box. Khalid Al Baloushi made a run to the near post and got the final touch before Abdulrahman finished well but make no mistake, Caio was the architect.
Dibba were to be bamboozled once more when the South American sashayed past a couple of defenders inside the area before having his shot blocked. Caio continued to threaten throughout with his dangerous runs in behind and ability to drive at the defence rendering a constant nuisance for the home team.
GOT WRONG – POSITIONING
While it was a very tight call and a tad unfortunate, Caio must accept a share of the blame for being caught offside when he had a goal ruled out in the second half. The Brazilian didn’t get back in line with the ball and after a VAR check, was rightly denied.
There were other occasions as well when Caio’s eagerness to score saw him make his runs too early, forcing the man on the ball to look elsewhere for a pass.
The 25-year-old was desperate to be involved but at times that led him to drop too deep, leaving Al Ain short of options inside the box.
On the other hand, Caio’s positioning was impeccable at the death when he took advantage of a quick throw-in, beat the keeper and scored the second to kill off the tie.
Not only did he dazzle the opposition with his slaloming runs, but his link-up play meant nearly every good move Al Ain put together went through him. On another day, he would’ve had a brace to his name but was unfortunate to be caught offside before showing outstanding composure to score deep into stoppage time.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi make the long trip to Ras Al Khaimah for Friday’s clash as they look to register their first triumph in three matches and put their AFC Champions League qualification hopes back on track.
After describing their display as unacceptable in last week’s 3-1 defeat to Al Wahda in the Abu Dhabi derby, Hertog expects Jazira to play their best football against Emirates, who are battling once again to avoid the drop.
“Last week, we committed mistakes against Al Wahda and I said before that shouldn’t be the level of football we should play at,” said Hertog during the pre-match press conference.
“We have to put on a much improved performance this time because winning gives everyone confidence and belief and that will help us for the remainder of the season.
“We know how important this game is for us. We have lost twice and drawn once in our last three matches and if we want to reach the AFC Champions League, then we have to start winning. Our target is to claim all three points and we don’t want nothing less than that.”
Jazira have slipped to third in their recent poor run. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club are six points ahead in second, while Sharjah look to have the league title sewn up.
The team that finish third will enter the 2020 Champions League qualifiers and the Abu Dhabi outfit are a point above outgoing champions Al Ain and their cross-city rival Clarets.
They will be without long-term absentees Ahmed Rabea, Mohamed Jamal as well as Fares Juma through injury for Friday’s game, while star striker Ali Mabkhout misses out due to suspension.
While Hertog is fully aware of the threat posed by the Falcons, three points above the relegation zone, he wants his team to keep a clean sheet.
“Football is a team game and that is defending and attacking as one,” said Hertog. “I hope we don’t concede any goals because it’s been a long time since we achieved that.”
Cameroon midfielder Sebastian Siani insists the players are determined to showcase their quality again and help Jazira reach next season’s Champions League.
“We haven’t won in three games but we are eager to end that bad run of results,” said the 32-year-old. “It will not be an easy game but we will give our best to win the match and help Al Jazira reach the AFC Champions League.”
More than two decades of frustration could end this weekend when long-term leaders Sharjah aim to seal the Arabian Gulf League’s title.
The King have cast aside their tag as regular relegation battlers with a bravura – and potentially historic unbeaten – 2018/19. Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s men boast a six-point advantage ahead of round 24, despite drawing their three previous fixtures.
Second-placed Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club visit improving Al Nasr on Friday. The pacesetters need only match this result 24 hours later at Al Wasl to gain their first top-flight crown since 1995/96, because of a superior head-to-head record.
Elsewhere, relegation could also be sewn up with two games in arrears. A win for 12th-placed Emirates Club against 2020 AFC Champions League chasers Al Jazira would pile the pressure on bottom-placed Dibba Al Fujairah and second-bottom Fujairah.
The Falcons hold a superior head-to-head record against both. With Fujairah also five points in arrears and Dibba currently three, victories versus beaten President’s Cup finalists Al Dhafra and – soon-to-be-deposed – title holders Al Ain, respectively, should be key.