x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Jazira close in on Al Wahda

Al Jazira cut Al Wahda's lead at the Pro League to one point on Thursday night after a late goal gave them a 1-0 win at Al AIn.

AL AIN// Al Jazira cut Al Wahda's lead at the Pro League to one point on Thursday night after a late goal gave them a 1-0 win at Al AIn. The lanky defender Juma Abdulla struck the winner three minutes from time when he tapped in a corner from Sultan al Menhali, while Wahda were held 1-1 at Al Shabab. "It could have been a massive mental blow had we not won this game," said Jazira coach Abel Braga. "All my players were aware on the importance of this game and I feel very proud of them. They played with a lot of heart to win the three points. "Everything went according to the plan. We were facing an opposition who came into this game having scored 10 goals in the last two matches. They were playing at home and everything favoured them. But it was our plan that worked best. "We had all their key players closely marked and played our usual attacking game. We enjoyed some good fortunes too than the other night against Al Wahda. However, this win doesn't mean we are guaranteed of the league. We still have a long way to go but obviously keep us on the track." Braga's side arrived after their first defeat in 14 league matches, a 2-1 loss to Wahda at the weekend, while Ain had gone into the game in the back of two straight wins, "We had chances to go ahead but we couldn't score. It was a good game of football and Jazira were lucky to score from a corner," said Ain coch Toninho Cerezo. Meanwhile the Wahda captain Haider Ali felt returning with a point from Al Shabab earlier in the night was still a good result. The Brazilian Pinga scored four minutes from time to cancel Shabab's 79th minute lead through another Brazilian Carlos Renato in the 1-1 draw at the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium in Dubai. "The one point lead is still good enough if we can keep winning the rest of the matches," said Haider. "We need to expect such result and so would Jazira. It's never, never easy to predict who will win the league." Wahda lead the table on 37 points, one ahead of Jazira with Ain third on 32 with the rest of the teams out of contention. apassela@thenational.ae