x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Al Jazira go down to Gharafa

The Qatari league champions dominate the hosts and should have won by even more than the 2-1 scoreline in Abu Dhabi.

Sobis got the consolatory goal in the 55th minute for Jazira but that was as far as they could go.
Sobis got the consolatory goal in the 55th minute for Jazira but that was as far as they could go.

ABU DHABI // Al Jazira's trials in the Asian Champions League continued with a home defeat in the Group A opener to the Qatari league champions Al Gharafa at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium. Abel Braga's men had a similar start on their first appearance last year when they were beaten by the Qatari side Umm Salal 1-0 at home, but on this occasion they were beaten by a more organised team on the night. The Moroccan Othman el Assas put the visitors ahead and the Iraqi forward Younis Mahmood doubled it seven minutes into the second half to get their team's campaign off to a perfect start. The Brazilian Rafael Sobis kept Jazira's hopes alive with a 55th minute strike but that was as far as they could go as the Gharafa defence stayed solid. And they could have scored more had they been on target from the chances they created.

El Assas scored with a stinging shot from 35 yards that went in off the inside of the post. Gharafa could have taken the lead in the first five minutes had a powerful header from Juninho not crashed against the crossbar, before el Assas's 16th-minute strike. Mahmood could have doubled the lead shortly after the break, but was off target with a close range shot with Clemerson Araujo and Juninho also guilty of missing good chances. However, Gharafa did go two goals up when Mahmood picked up a long pass from the Brazilian Juninho and slammed it into an empty goal with the goalkeeper Ali Kasheif caught out of position. After Sobis pulled one back for the home team, Jazira's reply was limited to a couple of long range shots, the closest an effort from Sobis, and a free kick from Subait Khater. apassela@thenational.ae