AJMAN: Super sub Haddaf Abdulla’s injury time goal saw holders Ajman rally to beat Al Dhafra 3-2 in a Round Three match of the UAE League Cup in Ajman on Thursday evening.
A double from Waleed Ahmed and Abdulla’s last-gasp goal ensured the current Cup holders maintained their unbeaten record in this season’s competition to overtake opponents Al Dhafra at the top of Group B.
Despite threats from Al Dhafra’s potent strike force of Makhete Diop and Emmanuel Clottey, it was Ajman who took an early lead in the 13th minute. Waleed Ahmed dinked a Jasem Ali through-ball over the advancing Al Dhafra goalkeeper Abdulbaset Al Hammadi before hooking the ball into the net from a tight angle to make it 1-0. But Al Dhafra managed to turn the game around before half time, as a 30th minute Hassan Zahran header from a Kamel Chafni cross leveled the scores. Just before the break Zahran bagged his brace to seize the lead for the home side, controlling Bandar Mohammed’s free kick on his chest before completing a simple finish past Ali Mesmari to make it 2-1.
Ajman did most of the pressing in the second period as they searched for an equaliser. In the 64th minute Ibrahim Saeed made a crucial block on the line to keep his side in front, and in the 79th minute an excellent ball from Moroccan playmaker Driss Fettouhi found Ajman captain Boris Kabi but the Ivorian striker’s shot was wide of the post as he was closely marked by Billal Najaren. Two minutes later Ajman were handed their route back into the game as Bandar Mohammed brought down Simon Feindouno in the area, and Waleed Ahmed stepped up to convert from the penalty spot, scoring his second of the game and bringing the scores level at 2-2.
There were nervy moments at both ends in the closing minutes as Ali Abbas went close to snatching a winner for Al Dhafra, whilst Driss Fettouhi’s dart forward into the area for Ajman was halted by a crunching challenge from Najaren, and Boris Kabi saw two good chances miss the target. But in the third minute of injury time the visitors snatched all three points as Driss Fettouhi’s assist from the byline was cleverly sidefooted into the net by substitute Haddaf Abdulla to make it 3-2.