posted on 19/09/2012: 588 views
Al Ain claimed the Etisalat Super Cup with a dramatic, sudden-death penalty shootout victory over Al Jazira in the 2012/13 season's curtain raiser at Al Wasl's Zabeel Stadium on Monday evening
The league champions dominated the President's Cup winners for large parts of this one-sided encounter, although they couldn't find the decisive strike to make their superiority tell in a 0-0 draw over 90 minutes.
This term's first silverware was to be decided then from the spot and, following a seesaw showdown, Al Ain finally prevailed 5-4 thanks to Dawoud Sulaiman's heroics with his boots and gloves.
The first chance of the night fell to Al Ain's Asamoah Gyan after being put through by Yaqoub Yousef.
He jinked, twisted and turned, but eventually his near-post shot was smartly kept out by Jazira's Ali Khaseif. The Ghanaian striker had another sight of Jazira's goal shortly thereafter, yet he could only scuff a tame attempt harmlessly well wide of Khaseif's goal.
Yousef and Gyan almost linked up again in the 12th minute, only for Khaseif to make a timely intervention, and an encouraging opening quarter of an hour for the league champions was completed by a Fares Juma effort that sailed narrowly wide.
Jazira's sporadic forays forwards came from Fernandinho during this problematic period of play and he consistently got the better of right-back Mohamed Ahmad.
However, the subsequent fouls drawn invariably resulted in Matias Delgado free-kicks that failed to pick out their red-shirted targets and Al Ain duly continued to press for the opener down at the other end. Jires Kembo-Ekoko drilled in another shot from the edge of the penalty area that Khaseif held comfortably low down and it appeared only a matter of time before the Garden City outfit took a deserved lead.
If Al Ain needed a reminder of the threat posed by Jazira though, they received it midway through the first half as Ibrahim Diaky clipped a ball over the top for Ricardo Oliveira, who lofted a speculative chip onto the roof of the net.
Gyan and Oliveira then both went close to breaking the deadlock at either end, along with Jazira's Diaky, prior to referee Ali Hamad Albadwawi's whistle for the interval.
There was a growing sense that Jazira had come more into the encounter as the first 45 minutes had gone on and that belief grew further when Fernandinho conjured up the initial opening following the break. Al Ain should have gone in front in the 52nd minute nonetheless as Omar Abdulrahman and Gyan combined to tee up Kembo-Ekoko, who dallied in possession and thus allowed Khaseif to come out swiftly and block from point-blank range.
Another gilt-edged opportunity fell to Cosmin Olaroiu's men on the hour mark when Gyan fed Omar Abdulrahman, who bore down on Khaseif's goal and clipped the ball agonisingly beyond the far post.
The presentable chances kept coming for Al Ain too, with Mirel Radoi's long punt finding Gyan in on Jazira's goal – though, with only Khaseif to beat – he somehow failed to cash in as well.
Both sets of players began to tire from here on in and, as a result, there were few incidents of note for the remainder of normal time.
The dreaded penalty shootout thus ensued. Al Ain and Jazira both missed three of their first seven spot-kicks apiece to take the tie well into sudden death.
At this point, Al Ain goalkeeper Sulaiman took matters into his own hands and fired in emphatically from 12 yards.
Salem Masoud then needed to score, yet only found the left-hand upright to spark wild celebrations among the Al Ain faithful. – Khaleej Times
|17 June 2013||Abu Dhabi and Dubai to share broadcast of UAE Pro League|
|16 June 2013||Emirates begins FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 Campaign in Brazil|
|03 June 2013||Sheikh Mohammed presented with President’s Cup won by Al Ahli|
|02 June 2013||Real Madrid sign shirt deal with Emirates airline|
|02 June 2013||UAE to train in China ahead of vital World Cup qualifier match|