x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Too little, too late for plucky Jazira

Al Jazira do their part with a convincing 4-1 win against Ajman, but still miss out on Pro League title.

The Al Jazira coach Abel Braga waves to the fans having watched his side win. The result was academic thanks to Al Ahli winning at Al Shabab.
The Al Jazira coach Abel Braga waves to the fans having watched his side win. The result was academic thanks to Al Ahli winning at Al Shabab.

AJMAN // Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, knew where the Pro League title was heading just 10 minutes after the kick-off of the final round of matches last night, rendering events at at the Rashid bin Saeed Stadium academic. Jazira duly won but the players and the fans had long since been resigned to their runners-up spot fate with the news emanating early from Dubai that Al Ahli, who had a one-point advantage, went 2-0 up in the 10th minute and 3-1 up at the break.

"We came here to win this match and we achieved that result," said Braga. "Ahli deserved to be champions because we lost to them twice. We must accept that fact. "They have also been playing well in the league and we were second best again. "I think we did well overall except for a few results that cost us the league at the end. But this is football and, hopefully, we can go one better next time."

Jazira will have to take heart from the fact they amassed 54 league points for the first time and took the title race to the wire for the second consecutive season. Tony, the Ivorian, scored twice last night to put Jazira in front at half time, and the Brazilian Fernando Baiano, taking his league tally to 25 for the season, and the captain Saleh Obaid, put the visitors out of sight in the second half.

Mohammed Khamis pulled one back five minutes from time, but it was too little, too late for Ajman, who had secured their Pro League status the previous week. In the other games, Al Wahda won 2-1 at Al Khaleej to finish fourth, while Al Shaab followed Khaleej to Division One after going down 1-0 at Al Ain. Al Nasr won the Zabeel derby against Al Wasl 2-1, while Sharjah and Dhafra shared the honours in a 1-1 draw. apassela@thenational.ae