DUBAI // Ivan Hasek, the Al Ahli coach, criticised his side for "playing to the gallery" as their title hopes suffered a jolt. Al Ahli were cruising at 2-0 in the first 20 minutes of their etisalat Division One game on Friday night against Al Wasl. But, according to Hasek, they stopped playing allowing the visitors to share the points in a 3-3 draw.
"We stopped playing after taking a 2-0 lead. Psychologically we relaxed a bit. We started to take it easy," said Hasek. "After taking the lead, we should have focused on shoring up our defence, but we started to play to the gallery and the fans, trying to be fancy and do something special." Al Ahli took the lead when Milad Meydavoudi slipped the ball past the advancing keeper Majed Nasser, and Faisal Khalil made it 2-0. The former Qatar internati- onal Mohammed Salem Al Enazi and Rogerinho, with a stunning free kick, levelled an exciting match. Al Ahli hit back when Milad made a brilliant run to set up Khalil for his second, but Maher Jassim struck to seal a draw for Al Wasl.
The match was also marred by a fracas involving Al Wasl's Andre Dias, who was suspended, but came onto the pitch to argue with Al Ahli's Marcos Assuncao. "A player, who is suspended, comes onto the field to provoke our players. That is not very normal," added Hasek. "At this moment, the championship is not in our hands, but it's not over." A win for Al Ahli would have put them level on 35 points with the league leaders Al Shabab and boosted their hopes of claiming a UAE double, having already captured the President's Cup.
Al Wasl coach Ze Mario defen- ded Dias, saying: "This is football. Andre is passionate about the side, but after the game, they are all friends and Brazilians."