ABU DHABI // Al Jazira were dealt a timely reminder last night that a match is not won until the final whistle is blown.
The players appeared to think they had done enough to secure the three points until Ahmed Malallah scored a last-gasp equaliser for Dubai to earn a 1-1 draw at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
"This kind of result where a team scored in the very last move is not uncommon in football, but it happened to us tonight and we are very disappointed," Paulo Bonamigo, the Jazira coach, said.
"Every game has its own story. We were looking for our third win which could have kept us in a good position, but that didn't happen. Now we can only get back to work and prepare for the next game."
Malallah, aided by a post, got the vital touch to a Simon Pierre Feindouno free kick to leave the Abu Dhabi club feeling deflated.
Ali Mabkhout had earlier given Jazira the lead. Matias Delgado, the Argentine midfielder, worked his way down the left flank, floating a cross towards Ricardo Oliveira. The Brazilian striker saw Mabkhout unmarked on his right and slipped the ball towards him for the UAE international forward to score his third goal in two games following his brace against Kalba last week.
Bonamigo said he remained confident Jazira could still mount a title challenge despite losing ground on the leaders Al Ain.
"We are not very far off the leaders," he said.
"If Al Ain [who play Al Shaab tonight] wins the next game we will be seven points behind and that's not too much with three more games left in the first round."
Rene Marsiglia, the Dubai coach, was delighted to come away with a point.
"I think we played very well although it took very long for the equaliser to arrive," the Frenchman said.
"We had a good first half and we made two substitutions when Jazira picked up their game early in the second half to take the lead.
"Obviously we are very happy to return with a point as we were on the verge of losing this match."
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