AL Dhafra 4 Al Ain 3
AL DHAFRA // Quique Sanchez Flores will have to pick up the pieces from a potentially damaging 4-3 defeat for Al Ain at the hands of Al Dhafra when he takes charge of the Garden City club.
The Spaniard, who led Al Ahli to the President’s Cup and a second-place finish in the league last season, arrived in Al Ain on Friday.
Sanchez Flores’s appointment is imminent but an official of the club said last night: “He is in Al Ain to finalise the deal but actually we still do not know if has agreed or not.”
Emmanuel Clottey, the Ghanaian midfielder who came on as a second-half substitute, scored three goals to power Al Dhafra to victory over the 11-time league champions at the Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium.
Makhete Diop scored the other for Dhafra while Michel Bastos and Asamoah Gyan, twice, were on target for the visitors.
Ahmed Abdullah, the caretaker coach of Al Ain, refused to talk of the new coach but acknowledged he was “disappointed” with the outcome of the game, which left Al Ain six points behind leaders Ahli.
“We had a good first half but some defensive mistakes after the break cost us,” the Emirati said. “I was entrusted with a task and I tried to do my best. The players, too, tried to do their best. However, we couldn’t achieve the result we came looking for. It is frustrating for me, the players and the fans.”
Abdullah Misfir, the Dhafra coach, was delighted with their first league win, taking their tally to four points from three games.
“To win against a team like Al Ain for us is a big achievement,” he said. “I am very happy with all the players, particularly for Clottey, because he was a bit low on confidence before this game. I hope he can take this new-found confidence forward.”
Al Ain drew first blood. Omar Abdulrahman drew out the Dhafra defence and slipped the ball towards Bastos for the Brazilian to fire it in to the roof of the net for his first league goal in three games.
Clottey headed home a chipped pass from Diop to level and guided home a corner from the Moroccan midfielder Kamel Chafni eight minutes later to put the home side ahead.
Diop provided them a two-goal cushion six minutes later. The Senegalese forward worked his way down the left flank before unleashing a powerful strike that deflected off Mohanned Salem, the Al Ain centre-back, to the near post, ricocheted off the keeper Khaled Essa and went over the line.
Dharfa’s celebration was short, though, as Gyan scored twice within three minutes to level the scores at 3-3.
The league’s top scorer for the past two seasons headed a Bastos cross and volleyed a corner from Abdulrahman.
However, the Dhafra fans were smiling again when Clottey regained the lead six minutes from time. A deflected shot from Abdullah Al Naqbi fell into his path to set up the winner and complete his hat trick.
Al Wahda 4 Emirates 0
A whirlwind start from Al Wahda set them on course for a comfortable win over Emirates. Sebastian Tagliabue, Ismail Matar and Eisa Ahmed all got on the score sheet in the first eight minutes against the shell-shocked visitors and Tagliabue wrapped up the game with his second midway through the second half.
Al Shaab 1 Al Wasl 4
Mariano Donda, the influential Argentine midfielder, back from suspension, got Wasl off to an early lead, tapping home the rebound of his missed penalty. Fahad Hadeed broke a tie on the hour mark. Andre Senghor got his second goal in two games and Maher Jassim rounded off the resounding victory over strugglers Al Shaab. The hosts have yet to secure their first point of the new season.
Dubai 1 Baniyas 4
The Argentine Luis Farina, the Chilean Carlos Munoz and the Brazilian Marcelo each scored as the South American players led Baniyas to an easy victory at Dubai. The trio have six of Baniyas’s eight goals. The visitors were aided on the hour by an own goal, ahead of Marcelo’s strike from off the bench. Faisal Ali kept Dubai from being shut out. Baniyas are alone in second place, two points behind leaders Al Ahli.