Al Ahli failed to make their numerical superiority count as the hosts were held to a 1-1 draw by a 10-man Al Ain in their Etisalat Emirates Cup clash tonight. Al Ain conceded their first goal of the season and were a man down before the end of the first-half. But the nine-time league champions bounced back to stretch their unbeaten streak to five games and take home a well-earned point.
Hosny Abd Rabo, who scored Egypt's second goal in their 4-0 crushing of Djibouti in a 2010 World Cup qualifier this week, put the hosts ahead in the ninth minute, but substitute Andre Senghor equalised for the 10-man Al Ain in the 54th minute after Darwesh Ahmed was sent off in the 39th minute. Al Ahli earned a penalty in the ninth minute when Milad Meydayvoudi was brought down inside the box from a double challenge by Ismael Ahmed and Al Prens. The Brazilian Clederson Cesar took the spot kick, but hit the horizontal bar. Hosny, however, was on hand to head home the rebound.
Sofiane Alloudi had a chance to restore parity in the 16th minute, but volleyed over. Ismael Ahmed tried to make amends with a header in the 22nd minute, but lacked direction. A lapse by Masood Hassan in the 34th minute presented the Al Ain skipper Andre Dias with a golden opportunity to put his side on par, but he failed to capitalise. As Al Ain went in search of the header, the game and the stands came alive. The visiting players and fans missed no opportunity to pressurise the officials, who did a great job in the middle. The Al Ain stars also tried to indulge in a bit of gamesmanship, but Darwesh Ahmed took things a bit far when he tried to trip Hosny as the Egyptian walked past him after the referee, Mohammed Omar, had blown his whistle for an infringement. Omar was right on the spot and gave Darwesh his second yellow of the game and the marching orders for the silliness.
With the visitors reduced to 10, Ahli set about to seize the initiative. But the Al Ain keeper Motaz Abdulla denied Milad in the 45th minute and Hosny shot wide in stoppage time. Returning after the break, Al Ain looked a lot more purposeful as Winfried Schafer replaced Dias with Senghor. The Senegalese repaid the trust with the equaliser for Al Ain in the 54th minute. Left unmarked at the top of the box, he took a moment before unleashing a scorcher that left Ahli keeper Ali Saeed stranded. firstname.lastname@example.org