Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Al Dhafra's Bandar Mohammed, right, gave Al Ahli players plenty of trouble tonight. Ravindranath K / The National
Al Dhafra's Bandar Mohammed, right, gave Al Ahli players plenty of trouble tonight. Ravindranath K / The National

Majed Naser proves penalties hero for Al Ahli in President's Cup

Comeback goalkeeper's saves ensure Dubai side beat Al Dhafra on penalties, while Al Wahda thrash Al Shaab.

Al Dhafra 1 Al Ahli 1
(AET - Al Ahli win 4-3 on pens)

ABU DHABI // How's this for a comeback tale? Majed Naser, playing his first game of the season for a new club, saved two penalties from Al Dhafra to lead Al Ahli into the quarter-finals of the President's Cup at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi tonight.

After a miserable last season marred by disciplinary troubles at Al Wasl, Naser emerged the hero in a penalty shoot-out after both sides played out a frenetic 120-minute stalemate.

Naser eased Ahli's frustrations on an evening in which they lost a lead, had a goal disallowed and wasted enough chances to win the entire tournament.

Ahli were good value for their first half lead.

They pressed deep and had much of the possession. But until Luis Jimenez scored from a free kick, they had been wasteful. Jimenez himself had a presentable chance, found inside the box from a wonderful diagonal ball from Abdulaziz Mohammad; his first touch was superb, but the angle was eventually too acute for the shot and Khalid Saif saved easily.

On the half-hour, they had a reasonable claim for a penalty. Grafite broke free in the area and there seemed contact with Saif - minimal and fleeting - but Grafite's extravagant fall was deemed a dive and he was duly booked for simulation.

Eight minutes later he was genuinely brought down 10 yards outside the area and Jimenez curled a delicious free kick over the wall.

Dhafra had been content until then to sit back patiently and hit on the counter.

The diminutive Bandar Mohammad was the perfect outlet man, making up for his lack of height with ceaseless running on the left.

He should have scored as early as the ninth minute when a mistake from Abdulaziz Mohammad let him through but he hurried his shot and Naser saved smartly. It was a handy first contribution from Naser, playing his first game of the season for his new club after the disciplinary troubles of last season with Wasl.

In the stands, Ahli fans greeted him with a sweet banner: "Red Boys Welcome Back 55", a reference to his shirt number.

Jimenez's goal quietened Dhafra's drive, but soon after the break they hit back with a fine goal. Fawzi Bashir broke down the right and put in a good deep cross.

He found Ali Al Hammadi who expertly took the ball on his chest, made room and drilled his shot into the corner in one fluid motion.

That lit the spark on the game's most frantic period, transforming it into a cut-and-thrust cup tie.

Grafite almost snatched a lead immediately, turning and shooting in the right of the area but high into the side netting. At the other end Bandar, still running, made a chance on his own, turning smartly and bringing out another good save from Naser

Eventually Dhafra tired and Ahli began to squeeze out complete control.

Achille Emana and Grafite should have put the game comfortably beyond Dhafra's reach; the former put a header wide from five yards out, the latter had a goal disallowed for offside before first shooting wastefully high from inside the area and then straight at the goalkeeper all in the final 10 minutes.

More chances were wasted in extra time but Naser made sure it didn't matter.

In the earlier kick off, Al Wahda progressed to the quarter-finals with a resounding 4-1 victory over Al Shaab.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National