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Al Nasr 2:3 Al Jazira. AGL. Match Summary

News 10 March 2016
Al Nasr failed to regain their grasp on third place in the Arabian Gulf League table as they slumped to 5th after a disappointing 3-2 home defeat by Al Jazira. A brace from Ali Mabkhout and a late Salem Ali strike handed victory to the Abu Dhabi side at the Al Maktoum Stadium, as goals from Jires Kembo-Ekoko and Jonathan Pitroipa were not enough to earn anything for Al Nasr. Al Jazira now have 28 points and move up one place to 7th. 
The first shot on target came in the 11th minute as Mahmoud Khamis’ free kick was palmed away with relative ease by Ali Khaseif, and Jonathan Pitroipa was unable to cause any damage on the follow-up. Four minutes later an extraordinary series of events saw Al Nasr somehow fail to take the lead after Tariq Ahmed’s thunderous shot from distance hit the crossbar, whilst Pitroipa and Nilmar’s efforts in the aftermath were both blocked; the latter by a flying save from Khaseif to scoop the ball out just before it could entirely cross the line. With Khaseif continuing to be the busier of the two goalkeepers, a one-handed punch turned Jires Kembo-Ekoko’s dipping long-range free kick behind for a 20th-minute corner, but in the 43rd minute it was Al Jazira who were handed an opportunity to get ahead on a platter as tricky playmaker Khalfan Mubarak was brought down in the area by Ali Al Ameri, and Ali Mabkhout stepped up to convert from the spot and make it 1-0 with his 15th League goal of the season soon before half time. 
There was a half-time substitution for either side – one enforced as Al Jazira goalkeeper Ali Khaseif came off injured to be replaced by Khalid Alsenaani, and one tactical as forward Salem Saleh was introduced in place of teenage midfielder Jassim Yaqoob for Al Nasr. But within just 25 seconds of the restart Al Jazira had fired themselves further in front at 2-0; captain Ali Mabkhout being played onside by Ali Al Ameri to race free and thrash a fine finish past a flat-footed Ahmad Shambih, making it 16 goals for the season by the UAE international striker. By the 49th minute, though, Jires Kembo-Ekoko had pulled Al Nasr right back into the game at 2-1 with a terrific right-footed free kick after Jonathan Pitroipa was brought down on the edge of the area. In the 69th minute, this time played onside by Khalifa Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout looked on for his hat-trick as he once again hurtled goalwards, but the Al Nasr centre-back kept pace with the striker and forced him wide enough to shoot into the side netting. In the 74th minute a crucial save from Shambih once again denied Mabkhout his third of the game, but on an immediate counter-attack Salem Saleh’s header was blocked behind for an Al Nasr corner, and heading into the final 10 minutes the hosts continued to desperately seek an equaliser as Nilmar’s effort cannoned unfortunately off-target with a deflection off the knee of teammate Salem Saleh. There was to be no comeback, though, as in the 87th minute Al Jazira netted their third goal through substitute Salem Ali, who marked his return from a lengthy injury lay-off by making it 3-1 in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. Less than a minute later it was 3-2, though, as Al Nasr suddenly sprung into action and Jonathan Pitroipa chipped a finish into the net from Nilmar’s through-ball, but it was too little, too late for the hosts.