x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Barry puts big money Brazilians in the shade

Al Ahli's Brazilian star Barry usurps Jazira's Rafael Sobis and Fernando Baiano in a 1-0 win over against the capital side.

DUBAI // Al Jazira may have spent in excess of £10 million (Dh65m) luring two talented Brazilians to Abu Dhabi, but it was Al Ahli's Samba star who stole the points for the Dubai side and helped them leapfrog their Pro League rivals. The Brazilian star Barry scored the only goal of the game at the Sheikh Rashid Stadium as Ahli ran out winners in a tight affair. Going into the match, the Jazira coach Abel Braga had said he expected an open game, but he could not have foreseen the extent to which Ahli's diligent defence would stifle the attacking threat of his big money Brazilian duo Rafael Sobis and Fernando Baiano. It was the home side who started brighter, with Ismail al Hammadi's quick thinking and quicker feet leaving even his own teammates struggling to keep up. The Emirati midfielder, who was playing in the hole behind the front two of Barry and Cesar, was a constant threat to the Black Spiders. Had Khalid Sobel not pulled him to ground in the 13th minute ? a challenge for which the Jazira defender was cautioned ? al Hammadi may well have opened the scoring. Such was Ahli's strong backline that Jazira ? who put five past Al Shaab last week in the Etisalat Cup ? resorted to long range efforts, none of which troubled the Ahli goalkeeper Obaid Al Towelah. Indeed, the visitors best chance came from a mistake at the back from Khalid Mohammed, when the defender headed past his own keeper, but the ball flew past the upright. Jazira started the second half the brighter team, but failed to really create any clean-cut chances. Al Hammadi was moved out wide and the impact was immediate. The diminutive Emirati cut inside in the 75th minute before using some neat trickery to elude two Jazira defenders. He laid off Barry, who with Khusif bearing down on him, struck hard and low past the goalkeeper's near post. Jazira suddenly came alive, having to chase the game, but you got the feeling it was too little too late from the Black Spiders, who were forced to crawl home empty-handed.