x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Oliveira powers Al Jazira past Ajman into Presidents Cup semis

The Brazilian scores a hat-trick for the Pro League champions in a comprehensive 6-2 win.

It took 32 minutes for Ricardo Oliveira, centre, to score the first of three goals against Ajman at Al Wasl Stadium last night.
It took 32 minutes for Ricardo Oliveira, centre, to score the first of three goals against Ajman at Al Wasl Stadium last night.

DUBAI // Ricardo Oliveira scored a hat-trick as Al Jazira, the defending President's Cup champions, romped into the last-four of the tournament with a comprehensive 6-2 win over Ajman at the Zabeel Stadium on Monday night.

Three Jazira goals within six minutes - two by Ali Mabkhout and the third by Oliveira - of the first half killed the contest, snuffing the fight out of Ajman after an engaging start.

Matias Delgado and Oliviera added three more to Jazira's tally in the second session, while Hassan Maatouk and Ibrahima Toure scored the two consolations for Ajman.

Jazira and Ajman had played an entertaining seven-goal duel in the Pro League earlier, which the defending champions nicked 4-3.

The match last night started on a promising note as well, from the opening kick itself when Ibrahima Toure attempted a cheeky chip over the Jazira goalkeeper Khalid, Eisa, from the half-line. The ball, however, sailed over.

Jazira had another close call in the eighth minute when Toure, put in the clear by the industrious Karim Kerkar, crossed for Hassan Maatouk. The Lebanese's header, however, bounced out of play off Khalid Sabeel's outstretched feet.

At the other end, Subait Khater kept asking questions with plenty of crosses into the box, but there were no real threats for Ajman till Mabkhout punched home a loose ball in the 26th minute.

Four minutes later, Mabkhout struck his second of the night, calmly placing an Oliveira cross to the right of the Ajman keeper, Sami Rabea.

Oliveira himself got on the score sheet in the 32nd minute when he blasted home Mabkhout's delivery.

Maatouk had a great chance to reduce the margin for Ajman in the 40th minute when Toure set him up in the clear, but he shot tamely into the Jazira keeper.

The Lebanese was unlucky again in the 52nd minute when his header bounced off the vertical post; he failed to boot home the rebound as well.

Maatouk did finally hit the target in the 54th minute, when he weaved his way away from his marker and blasted the ball to the far corner.

That was the only consolation for Ajman from the game as the Brazilian Oliviera broke through their defence at will, first helping Matias Delgado make it 4-1 in the 72nd minute and than volleying in his second of the night four minutes later.

Toure brought some cheers to the Ajman fans with their second goal in the 80th minute, but there was hardly any celebration on the field and Oliveira completed the rout in added time.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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