x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Asian Champions League: Al Jazira fans cry out for Bonamigo after draw against Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab

Luis Milla is four games into his Al Jazira career and still waiting for that first win as fans serenaded him by calling out the name of his predecessor, Paulo Bonamigo, in Jazira's 1-1 draw of their Asian Champions League match against Al Shabab.

Khamis Ismail, left, tries keeping Ahmed Ibrahim Ateef of the Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab off the ball in their Asian Champions League match.
Khamis Ismail, left, tries keeping Ahmed Ibrahim Ateef of the Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab off the ball in their Asian Champions League match.

 

ABU DHABI // Al Jazira produced a vastly improved performance yet still failed to give their new coach Luis Milla a first win in four games in all competitions.

The Pro League club came from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw in Tuesday night's Asian Champions League match, which was watched by more than 15,000 fans at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium.

Hassan Fallatah struck a minute before half time to put the visitors ahead and Khamis Ismail was on target from 25 yards out for the equaliser 10 minutes into the second period.

Jazira played the final five minutes with just 10 men after Matias Delgado was sent off by the Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov for stamping on Ahmed Ateef.

They could still have won but Waleed Abdullah, the Shabab goalkeeper, did well to cling on to his close range effort from Ibrahim Diaky in added time.

"It is a fair result," Milla said. "We could have won this game had we scored from the opportunities we created.

"The players must be congratulated for the good performance. They can only get better from now and achieve better results in the remaining matches.

"It is still wide open in Group A with four games left [after Tractor Sazi and Al Jaish drew 3-3].

"If we play in the same heart and the same spirit we played in the second half, we can achieve more good results in this competition.

When asked if this was the team's best performance in his short time in charge, Milla said: "I think we played a good game against Al Ain. Apart from the game against Dibba Al Fujairah, we have played three good games. Sometimes the result may not justify our performances."

Jazira went down 3-1 away to Tractor Sazi of Iran in Milla's first game in charge and then lost 1-0 to Al Ain and drew 3-3 with lowly Dibba in the Pro League.

The point is Jazira's first point from two games in the ACL Group A but the result did not seem to go well with the fans, who chanted the name of their former coach Paulo Bonamigo towards the end.

Jazira began well last night and had the better of the first half in terms of possession and territory yet all their good work was undone when they conceded a goal with minute left before the break.

Earlier in the half Jazira had a golden opportunity to take the lead but Fernandinho, the Brazilian forward, sent his effort wide when faced one-on-one with the Shabab goalkeeper.

Subait Khater's fierce shot from 25 yards was fumbled by Abdullah but he did well to recover and hold on to the loose ball before Ricardo Oliveira could reach it.

Ali Al Ameri, the Jazira defender, did well to clear Sebastian Tagliabue's effort from the goal-line after Fernando Menegazzo had set him up inside the box.

The visitors were not denied for the second time, however. Tagliabue drew Ali Kasheif, the Jazira keeper, out of position and set up Hassan Fallatah to score from inside the box.

Shabab began the second half with more poise and confidence, and Tagliabue nearly doubled the lead, the Argentine's effort from just outside the box crashing against the post.

But Jazira earned a share of the points when Oliveira fed Ismail and the Emirati midfielder blasted home the equaliser from 25 yards out.

Michel Preud'homme, the Shabab coach, said: "As I said before, any team that wins the second game had a very big chance to go beyond the group stage. We were very close to achieving it tonight.

"We were in a position to score a second goal. We could have won had we either scored again or didn't concede one that was from a shot from a long way out."

 

apassela@thenational.ae

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