x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Al Ahli 1 Al Dhafra 1

Makhete Diop's last-minute strike stuns the Dubai side's fans as the game ends in 1-1 draw.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates-December 15, 2012; Etisalat Pro League - Al Ahli vs Al Dafra at Sheikh Rashid Stadium Dubai . (Afsal Sham/Al Ittihad)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates-December 15, 2012; Etisalat Pro League - Al Ahli vs Al Dafra at Sheikh Rashid Stadium Dubai . (Afsal Sham/Al Ittihad)

DUBAI // Quique Sanchez Flores admitted his Al Ahli team seem to suffer from some "psychological" issues at home after they dropped more points at the Rashid Stadium tonight in a 1-1 draw against Al Dhafra.

Makhete Diop's last-minute strike stunned the Ahli fans, who seemed to have already started celebrating what could have been their third win at home from seven matches.

Grafite had given them the lead in the 45th minute from the penalty spot, but Diop rose higher than the Ahli back line to nod in the equaliser with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

Ahli have now dropped 11 points in seven matches at home, winning two and drawing four, while they have clinched 16 of 18 possible points away from home.

"I don't know, but I get the impression that there is something wrong psychologically," a disappointed Sanchez Flores said tonight. "I can't really understand why our performance drops at home.

"We seem to be cagey when we are playing at home, while away, we normally play well, feel free, we are brave and make good decisions on the pitch. So we need to sit down and analyse what happens.

"It is very difficult to accept this goal in the last minute.

"We probably were thinking about three points and then we got a draw.

"Maybe we did not play one of our best games of the season. In the second half, I got the feeling that my players started thinking the game is finished."

Ahli made a slow start and their first real chance came in the 15th minute, but Ismail Al Hammadi blasted the ball high.

Abdulaziz Sanqour then attempted an ambitious effort from 30 yards out in the 20th minute, but the Dhafra keeper Khalid Al Senani did well to keep the ball out.

But just when it seemed the first half would finish goalless, former Ahli man Mohammed Qassim's reckless high tackle caught Achille Emana in the face and the referee pointed to the spot.

Grafite successfully converted to break the deadlock and take his tally to 19 goals in the Pro League this season.

Dhafra should have equalised in the 60th minute after the Ahli goalkeeper Ali Mesmari fumbled a simple collection.

Amara Diane tried to take advantage, but Saad Surour managed to keep his flick from crossing the line.

The deflection travelled towards Makhete Diop and he cannoned the ball high over the unmanned goal.

Diop eventually made amends in the final minute to give new coach Laurent Banide plenty of confidence in his team.

"I believe we deserve this point," the Frenchman said. "We kept Ahli under pressure in both the sessions and played a really good, tactical game.

"In the last game against Al Nasr, we played 10 men against 11 for 70 minutes and won the game. We showed a lot of spirit and fight, and we showed the same tonight in getting the equaliser in the final minute.

"This shows the team has a lot of heart and this is very important as we look to the future. We have made some mistakes in these matches and we will work on them, but for the moment I am very happy with my players."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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