x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Held by Al Wasl, Baniyas miss chance to close gap on Al Jazira

Baniyas dominated possession and had numerous half-chances and a handful of good ones, but each was dealt with by Wasl's veteran goalkeeper Majed Naser.

BANIYAS // High-flying Baniyas blew a chance to cut into Al Jazira's lead, settling for a scoreless home draw with Al Wasl in the Pro League last night.

Baniyas dominated possession and had numerous half-chances and a handful of good ones, but each was dealt with by Wasl's veteran goalkeeper Majed Naser.

Baniyas remain seven points behind Jazira after the leaders' draw with Al Wahda on Friday, with eight rounds left in the season. Neither Jazira nor Baniyas have won a top-flight league title.

The forward Fawzi Bashir and the midfielder Theyab Awana returned for Baniyas, the latter after an 11-week absence following a leg injury in the national team's January 5 friendly with Australia.

However, Baniyas were still without the national team playmaker Amer Abdulrahman; his absence was felt as Baniyas failed to get the ball in a prime spot to the Senegalese striker Andre Senghor.

Wasl were without Francisco Yeste, the Spanish midfielder, and rarely threatened to score.

The Dubai club could have jumped into a tie for third place. Instead they remain in the middle of the table.

Earlier last night, Leonardo Lima's penalty in the 62nd minute helped Al Nasr salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Dubai.

The promoted side had taken the lead three minutes into the second period when Abubaker Camara, the midfielder from Guinea, volleyed home a side-swinging left-footed shot from 10 yards.

The ball had been headed into the box by Michael N'dri.

Fourteen minutes later, the Dubai midfielder Hasan Abdulrahman, who was part of the defensive wall, raised his right arm to block a free kick by the Nasr defender Talal Hamad.

Because Abdulrahman was in the box, a penalty was awarded, and Lima, the Brazilian midfielder, hammered home the spot-kick, beating Jamal al Hammadi.

Dubai's victory moved them one more point away from the risk of relegation. Dubai are on 13 points, two clear of Al Ain in the two-team drop zone.

Only 14 goals were scored over the weekend, fewest by two in any round this season.

* Compiled by Paul Oberjuerge