x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Too little too late for battling Al Jazira

Al Jazira managed to maintain their pride in the Pro League when they came back from a goal down last night for a 2-1 victory over relegated Ajman.

Al Jazira managed to maintain their pride in the Pro League when they came back from a goal down last night for a 2-1 victory over relegated Ajman, a team they will meet again in two weeks' time in the season-ending Etisalat Cup final. Sultan al Menhali scored from a spot-kick in the 76th minute and Tony, the Ivorian, fired the winner a minute later after the visitors had taken an early lead through Ali Khamees at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

However, Jazira's victory had no effect on the league, with their rivals Al Wahda being crowned champions with one round left. Ajman went into the break with their heads high after being the better team and holding on to a one-goal lead. They could have doubled it had the Togolese forward Abdel Kader Coubadja got his effort past Ali Kashief with two minutes left in the first half. Jazira could could have wiped out the lead four minutes later but Tony's weak effort from a spot kick was blocked by Mohammed Hussain.

Abel Braga, the Jazira coach, had to bring in Rafael Sobis, his expensive Brazilian signing, in the second half to strengthen his attacking options after a lack-lustre first half from his men, who didn't seem to be motivated. Jazira took the field five points behind Wahda and they had to be content with the runner-up spot for a third successive year, but it was first time in two years the league didn't go the full distance.

In last night's other matches, Al Ain consolidated their third place in the leaderboard with a 3-1 defeat of Baniyas, Al Shabab downed Al Ahli by the same scoreline, Al Wasl overcame Emirate 5-4 and Al Nasr and Al Dhafra played out a 3-3 draw. apassela@thenational.ae