Boris Kabi scores two first-half goals but Ajman still needed two more goals in the final 15 minutes to pull out a thrilling 4-3 victory over Al Wahda, writes Amith Passela.
Pro League: Boris Kabi provides early spark and Ajman's late rally pushes them past Al Wahda
Al Wahda 3 Ajman 4
Al Wahda Oliveira 6’, Waigo 52’, Andric 63’
Ajman Kabi 12’, 35’, Fettouhi 78’, Hassan 84’
Man of the match Driss Fettouhi (Ajman)
Boris Kabi, the prolific Ivorian forward, scored two in the first half while Driss Fettouhi and Waleed Ahmed struck late goals for the visitors to lead Al Nahyan Stadium with a 4-3 victory on Friday night.
Marcelo Oliveira gave Wahda an early lead. Papa Waigo and Srdan Andric were on target in the second half as they regained the lead, but at the end, they surrendered the advantage through mistakes.
Branko Ivankovic, the Wahda coach, was severely disappointed to see his team drop a third successive Pro League match, one his team had led in the second half.
"It is very frustrating when you lose a game which we could have won quite easily," the Croatian said. "We missed a lot of scoring opportunities and then made a lot of mistakes towards the end. Ajman scored from the chances that came their way and due to our own faults."
Wahda were without seven players because of injuries and suspensions but the coach insisted it was not an excuse or reason to lose the match.
"They are professionals and they have a responsibility when they are playing in front of their fans," he said, when asked if it was hard to motivate a team that is in the middle of the league table.
Wahda next play Al Shabab in the President's Cup semi-final on May 5, and Ivankovic is hoping his team can regroup and play to their potential following the disappointing results in their past three games in the league.
"That's the big game for us and I am sure they will automatically be motivated to play in a final," he said of his players.
Abdulwahab Abdulkadir, Ajman's Iraqi coach, said their target was to reach 25 points, and now they are on 26.
"To achieve that objective against a team like Wahda was remarkable," he said. "We tried to control the midfield and we managed to score from the few chances that came our way."
Ajman also overcame the loss, at half time, of their No 1 goalkeeper, Jaber Jasim, who was injured. Najeed Al Jasmi took over, and a 2-1 lead became a 3-2 deficit before Ajman scored twice in the final 15 minutes.
"Najeeb did an excellent job for us with some great saves," Abdulkadir said. "He has a very bright future ahead of him, but it was a great collective effort from the team that we won."
In the fifth minute, Wahda's Mohammed Al Shehhi fired in a free-kick from the right flank for Adel Basulaiman, on the far post, to pass it towards the goalmouth for Oliveira to tap in to the back of the net.
Their lead was short-lived as Kabi rose above Dino Djulbic, the tall Australian defender, to superbly dispatch his header towards the corner of the net off a lobbed pass from Fettouhi, the Moroccan midfielder.
Wahda were unlucky twice as Oliveira's bullet crashed against the crossbar and Badr Al Harthi's low shot took the fingertips of the goalkeeper Jasim before ricocheting off the post in the very next move.
Wahda felt more frustration as Kabi beat Ali Al Hosani, the Wahda keeper, to a cross from Waleed Ahmed with a sliding effort for his second goal. It was Kabi's 21st goal of the Pro League season.
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