x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Braga's men fail to shine again

Al Jazira's winless run in the Asian Champions League continues as the Saudi giants Al Ittihad hold them to a scoreless draw.

The Al Jazira forward Rafael Sobis is tripped by an Al Ittihad defender.
The Al Jazira forward Rafael Sobis is tripped by an Al Ittihad defender.

ABU DHABI // Al Jazira's winless run in the Asian Champions League continued when the Saudi giants Al Ittihad held them to a scoreless draw in Group C at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday. Abel Braga's men were the more innovative of the two sides, yet they lacked a finishing touch and some good fortune they deserved on the night. Diaky Ibrahim, who saw a couple of first half headers go just wide of the post, was left a frustrated man as he saw a superb solo effort crash against the upright 11 minutes from time. Jazira's Brazilian striker Rafael Sobis' forced a brilliant save from Ittihad goalkeeper Mabrouk Zaid, who dived full stretch to make a one-handed save to keep the visitors in the game. Fernando Baiano had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock six minutes after the break, but the Brazilian's low shot went straight at Zaid. Ittihad, who play Al Hilal in the Saudi league decider on Sunday, will return home the more satisfied of the two teams. The point keeps them on top of Group C following their two victories in the earlier rounds. Gabriel Calderon had left out four of his key players from his line-up but was forced to bring in the young Saudi international striker Naif Hazazi after Emad Metaeb was stretchered off in the 25th minute and brought in the experienced midfielder Mohammed Noor in the second half in a bid to strengthen the defence. The visitors never looked like threatening the score line. The closest they came was when Saleh al Saqri's shot from the edge of the box went just wide in first half injury time. The result leaves Braga's men with two points after a 1-1 away result with Iranian club Esteghlal after a bitter home defeat to Qatari minnows Umm Salal in their opening two Group C matches.

apassela@thenational.ae