Al Ain's Asamoah Gyan found the net twice to break the league's single-season scoring record but his team blows a two-goal lead and Baniyas walk away with a 2-2 draw, writes Amith Passela.
Pro League: Al Ain's Asamoah Gyan sets new standard for scoring
Al Ain 2 Baniyas 2
Al Ain Gyan 23’ pen, 65’
Baniyas Senghor 74’, 86’
Red cards Mohammed Salem (Al Ain)
Man of the match Andre Senghor (Baniyas)
The Ghana captain scored either side of half-time to take his tally to 30 for the season. The previous record tally was 29 by Senegalese striker Alboury Lah for Al Wahda in 1998/99.
Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach, paid tribute to Gyan for his record-breaking effort.
"Congratulations to him, but I want him to be at the same level in all competitions and also break all records in all the competitions, that is my wish for him," he said.
Having already won the league, Olaroiu provided an opportunity for some of his fringe players.
"It was a good chance to give some players a test of their abilities," he said. "Some of the players did well and made all the effort possible – but some didn't do well."
Olaroiu criticised the referee Abdulla Ali Al Zaabi, who sent off Mohammed Salem after 34 minutes. The defender received a yellow card for a foul and another for kicking the ball away.
"It was great to play for 60 minutes in this weather with one player short," the Romanian said.
"It is hard to do this, but our players did well and made all possible efforts and showed their determination.
"If the referee against Al Ahli got awarded 9.5 out of 10," he said, referring to the two red cards in Al Ain's loss to the Dubai club in the President's Cup semi-final last week, "this referee will get a little better mark because of less mistakes.
"There were still mistakes, the red card to [Mohammed] Salem and the foul against Gyan by [Baniyas player] Yousef Jaber.
"If Gyan passes the defender and is about to face the goal, then the rules state that it is a whistle, a free kick and a red card. So I don't know how it became a yellow card. Maybe the referee wanted to compensate after the penalty kick."
Gyan opened the scoring with a spot kick awarded when Fawaz Awana hauled down Jires Kembo-Ekoko with a clumsy tackle. He doubled the lead with a dipping 30-yard effort to beat the Baniyas goalkeeper, Mohsin Al Hashmi, who was caught out of position.
But Andre Senghor scored twice within 12 minutes in the final quarter as Baniyas came back from two goals down to keep their hopes of a top-three finish alive.
The Senegalese striker slid the ball home from Saleh Hamad's pass on 74 minutes and then headed the equaliser from a looping cross from Amer Abdulrahman with four minutes left.
Salem Al Orafi, the Baniyas interim coach, felt they missed an opportunity to win full points.
"For Al Ain, it was completing their league commitments, but for us it was important to win full points to improve our chances to finish in the top three," he said.
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