x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Dubai survive the drop but Emirates are relegated from Pro League

Al Nasr clinch second place ahead of Al Shabab after 2-2 draw, while Sharjah ended their disappointing campaign with a share of the spoils against Baniyas.

Dubai’s Aboubaca Camara, left, evades an Al Jazira defender during last night’s 2-0 win.
Dubai’s Aboubaca Camara, left, evades an Al Jazira defender during last night’s 2-0 win.

ABU DHABI // Dubai won the relegation battle last night as they retained their place in the Pro League with a 2-0 away victory over Al Jazira.

Emirates were left heartbroken in front of their home in Ras Al Khaimah despite a 2-1 win over Al Wahda.

Hassan Mohammed put Dubai ahead with a simple tap-in to the back of the net after a clearance from Sami Rubaiya hit the inside bar and fell into his path and Abbas Ahmed completed a fine move to double the lead 11 minute from time.

"Thank God, we made it," Ayman Al Ramady, the Dubai coach, said. "Credit should go to all the players for an outstanding effort, the technical staff to get the players in good shape, both physically and mentally, and the club management for being patient.

"Me and my staff spent sleepless nights in the past week, just thinking about this final match. I am glad that is now over and we can take a well-deserved break."

Dubai had only two points from nine games when Al Ramady took charge but they finished strongly on 20 points.

"The general feeling at that time was Dubai had no hopes of remaining in the Pro League," the Egyptian said.

"It was a difficult period. The moral of the players were down. However, we managed to regroup and work our way up. And it wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of the players. They responded magnificently and this was the reward at the end."

Al Ramady said the turning point for his team was when they defeated Sharjah and Al Nasr, and the result against Jazira.

Emirates had only one chance, that was to win and hope Dubai lost. That would have meant they would have stayed up on their head-to-head record as both teams would have had equal points.

Dubai were put under pressure straightaway after Emirates took a strong hold on their home game against Wahda. But all their efforts went in vain when Dubai scored two second half goals to win the three points.

Dubai had the ball on the back of the Jazira's net twice in the first half but they were disallowed.

They were also unlucky when a stinging shot from Nicolas Marin, the French midfielder, crashed against the post in the ninth minute.

The closest Jazira came to scoring was when Mohammed Bargash, the substitute, hit a post in the closing stages of the match.

Jazira used all their reserves, barring Ricardo Oliveira, the Brazilian forward, and Matias Delgado, the Argentine midfielder. They were als short of supporters and a group of travelling fans of around 100 from Dubai had the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium almost to themselves.

Caio Junior, the Jazira coach who ended his three-month period with a fourth successive league defeat, revealed he had only 16 players available for the game.

"We could still have finished with a better result," the Brazilian said. "I have achieved the objectives of the club but as a professional I want to do better at every given time and we played with that in mind."

Al Nasr finished runners-up in the league after a 2-2 draw with Al Shabab and Sharjah, who were already relegated before last night's final round of games, earned a similar away result against Baniyas.

Ciel, the Brazilian forward, fired the equaliser in added time for Shabab, who led 1-0 at the break through another Brazilian Keiza. Habib Fardan and Mark Bresciano scored for Nasr.


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