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Al Jazira Surrenders Their Lead and Equalize with Al Fujairah

News 20 September 2014
Al Jazira twice let a lead slip to be held to a battling 2-2 draw at home to newly-promoted side Fujairah. Two goals from Ali Mabkhout had twice given The Pride of Abu Dhabi the lead at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, but they were pegged back by Hassan Yebda and Boubacar Sanogo to enable the visitors to register their first Arabian Gulf League point.
The hosts signaled their intent early on as Manuel Lanzini fizzed an early effort towards goal in the 3rd minute, which was deflected behind for a corner, and inside the first 10 minutes the young Argentine curled a free kick to skim the top of the netting. In the 12th minute there was a game of pinball in the box after Khamis Esmail’s chipped free kick, with Mirko Vucinic, Ali Mabkhout and Abdullah Mousa all seeing their headers blocked away and eventually saved by Ayyoub Al Marzouqi. But in the 22nd minute Al Jazira got their noses in front as Jonathan Pitroipa collected a wayward pass from Fujairah’s defence, releasing to Vucinic who put Ali Mabkhout through for the UAE international striker to make no mistake with a confident finish. The lead did not last long, however, as just five minutes later an otherwise unthreatening Fujairah side got back on level terms. A throw-in from the right was chested down by Boubacar Sanogo, who then unleashed a shot at Ali Khaseif. The Al Jazira goalkeeper parried, but the ball fell into the path of Hassan Yebda who completed a simple tap-in from the rebound to make it 1-1.
The opening stages of the second half saw Vucinic sky a gilt-edged chance over the bar after a silky set-up from Lanzini as the home side went in search of the lead again; something that was soon to come. Just before the hour mark it was Ali Mabkhout again who inspired his side to get ahead, winning a penalty after a trip in the area from Ibraheem Saeed, and picking himself up to convert an extremely cool spot kick and make it 2-1 in the 59th minute. Moments later Vucinic had a precise first-time finish ruled out for offside as Gerets’ men exerted more pressure on their visitors, but with a slender advantage Al Jazira were also vulnerable at the back, and were saved by the offside flag as Sanogo tapped in another spill from Khaseif. In the 82nd minute substitute Sultan Al Suwaidi could have wrapped up victory but somehow the young right-back – a product of the Manchester City academy – headed over from close range. Al Jazira were made to pay for their missed chances in the 88th minute as Fujairah levelled again, this time through Boubacar Sanogo, who netted after Ali Khaseif failed to deal with Madjd Bougherra’s cross, to squander the lead for the second time and finish the game with just one point.