Al Ain came from a goal down to beat Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli and progress to the quarter-finals of the President’s Cup.
Zlatko Dalic’s men were behind to Ahmed Khalil’s penalty with 12 minutes remaining before the game’s second spot kick turned the game in their favour, man-of-the-match Omar Abdulrahman equalising.
Boss veteran Ibrahim Diaky pounced to net the winner seven minutes into the first half of extra time to maintain Al Ain’s impressive start to the season, with the Garden City side the only unbeaten side in the Arabian Gulf League.
Dalic’s men have lost twice and failed to qualify for the Arabian Gulf Cup semi-finals, but they will now march on into the last eight aiming to avenge their penalty shootout defeat to fierce rivals Al Jazira in last season’s President’s Cup final.
Al Ain started brightly at Jazira’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium and had the ball in the net during the first half. Brazilian flyer Caio flicked in superbly after a beautiful lofted ball over the top from Mohamed Abdulrahman, but referee Ammar Al Jneibi brought play back as the former Kashima Antlers man had tugged back ex-Bani Yas defender Mohammed Jaber.
Cosmin Olaroiu’s side were much better after the interval and took the lead through UAE international Khalil.
The powerhouse forward was clearly tripped by Ahmed Barman as he chased a long ball into the area. The 25-year-old confidently stepped up to open the scoring although Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Essa got a strong hand to his low kick and was clearly disappointed to not keep it out.
The game sparked into life moments later when Ahli anchorman Khamis Esmail was booked for a crude lunge on Caio. Tempers threatened to boil over as Al Ain’s players surrounded Al Jneibi demanding a red card.
Esmail only saw yellow as did Boss talisman Omar Abdulrahman for his exuberant protestations.
The UAE schemer, playing as an auxiliary striker in Dalic’s 4-3-3 formation, came within a whisker of equalising in the 68th minute when he fashioned a chance following some neat close control and lashed a shot goalwards that had international teammate Majed Nasser scrambling across as his effort flew just wide.
Amoory was to have a telling impact on the game 10 minutes later though when he did haul his side level. Al Jneibi was again at the centre of the action as he awarded his second penalty of the game – another correct decision.
South Korea defender Kwon Kyung-won’s boot caught substitute Diaky in the midriff and the official pointed to the spot. Abdulrahman stepped up and dispatched his spot kick beyond the excellent Nasser.
Nasser did brilliantly to flick over Diaky’s powerful shot to keep the scores level as the game entered injury time, but he was finally beaten in the extra period.
Omar Abdulrahman sprayed a pin-point ball over the top to substitute Douglas, whose neat turn and shot was thwarted yet again by Nasser, but 34-year-old Diaky was quickest to react, netting the rebound on a pitch he called home for so many years having spent eight years at Jazira.
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