x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Pinga helps Ahli end losing run in draw with Nasr

Humaid Abbas had given the visitors a 16th-minute lead, but Pinga equalised from the penalty spot after Ahmed Khalil was knocked over by Khalid Ibrahim.

Al Ahli 1 // Al Nasr 1

DUBAI // Al Ahli ended their run of three consecutive defeats with a 1-1 draw at home against Al Nasr last night.

Humaid Abbas had given the visitors a 16th-minute lead, but Pinga equalised from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute after Ahmed Khalil was knocked over by Khalid Ibrahim.

The draw has taken Nasr and Ahli's tally to 23 points, the same as Sharjah.

Al Wahda are a further three points ahead, while Al Wasl (27), Al Shabab (28), Baniyas (31) and Al Jazira (43) occupy the top four positions.

Not many Ahli fans had bothered to turn up for the game, and they could hardly be blamed, given the side's disappointing recent form; they had lost four of their previous five games, scoring a single point courtesy of a 2-2 draw at home against Kalba.

In the last three games, the 2009 champions had conceded 11 goals and their defensive woes came to the fore early against Nasr.

After Leonardo Lima had shaken the post from a free kick in the eighth minute, Abbas left the Ahli keeper Yousuf Abdullah short with a booming 35-yarder over him in the 16th minute. Abdullah failed to reach the ball despite a desperate leap.

Khalil came close to equalising in the 53rd minute with a curling free kick, but the Nasr keeper Abdullah Moosa did well to keep it out. Moosa frustrated Khalil again in the 62nd minute, diving to his left to keep a scorching right-footer out.

Khalil, however, managed to get the penalty that gave Ahli a respectable result.

In the earlier games, Kalba fought back from a goal down to defeat Etisalat Cup winners Al Shabab 2-1, and defending champions Al Wahda drubbed a 10-man Sharjah 6-1.

Shabab, who were also reduced to 10 after Hassan Ibrahim's red card in the 25th minute, took a 72nd minute lead through Essa Obaid in Kalba, but Elias de Oliveira equalised two minutes later and struck his second four minutes from time to clinch three crucial points for the relegation-threatened home side.

Kalba moved to 17 points, one behind Al Ain, who have a game in hand tonight, away to bottom side Al Dhafra.

At Wahda, Mohammed al Shehhi started the rout in the 26th minute and seconds before half-time, Sharjah conceded a second and lost their goalkeeper, Mahmoud al Mas, in the process in bizarre fashion.

Al Mas had stopped Hugo's penalty after Salem Saleh was brought down by Moussa Hateb, but the linesman ruled he had left his line before the kick was taken.

An enraged al Mas charged at the linesman and was sent off; Hugo converted the retaken penalty.

Saleh then struck twice to make it 4-0; Hugo added a second and the substitute Abulraheem Juma completed the tally eight minutes from time.

Marcelo Oliveira scored the consolation goal for Sharjah.