AL AIN // Asamoah Gyan, unsuccessful with a spot kick, made up for it with a spectacular header from a corner as Al Ain emerged 2-1 winners over Al Wahda in a pulsating game last night at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed stadium.
Alex Brosque had given the home side an early lead and they could have doubled it had Gyan been successful with a penalty awarded when Omar Abdulrahman was felled by Eisa Ahmed, the Wahda centre back.
Saeed Al Kathiri then scored off a deft touch from a corner to cancel out Al Ain's lead and, when it looked like Wahda were on the verge of returning with a point Gyan struck, his 20th league goal in 12 games.
Al Ain ended the game with 10 men when Mohammed Abdulrahman was sent off for his second booking, a nasty kick at Hamdan Al Kamali, the Wahda defender.
Wahda came up with one of their better performances on the night and had the defending champions on the back foot for the majority of the 90 minutes.
"We played a good game and just came short of winning a point," Al Kathiri said in a post-match television interview.
"Al Ain we all know is the best team in the league and we gave them a good scare. We can take a lot of positive from this game when we play Al Jazira next."
It was the visitors who made an immediate impact although Al Ain scored first.
Al Kathiri made a dash inside the box and unleashed a fierce shot which Dawoud Sulaiman, the Al Ain goalkeeper, did well to punch it over the crossbar in the second minute.
The UAE international striker came close to scoring again towards the end of that half but his effort fell wide with Sulaiman out of position.
Omar Abdulrahman sent a pass towards Gyan, who set-up Brosque with a deft back-heel for the Australian to drill the ball past Adel Al Hosani, the Wahda keeper.
They could have doubled the lead but Gyan's spot kick in the 25th minute was well saved by Al Hosani.
With the pressure off their back after their coach Branko Ivankovic told his players to "enjoy the game" Wahda looked a different team.
They fell short of testing the Al Ain goalkeeper time and again but they kept the home side under pressure for much of the first half and took that momentum forward to the second period.
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