DUBAI: Al Dhafra held Al Ahli to a 1-1 draw to deny them full three points in their 13th round of the Etisalat Pro League match played at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Saturday.
In the other match Al Shabab defeated Al Shaab 3-0 at the Khaled Bin Mohamed Stadium at Sharjah.
Al Ahli, standing at the second spot behind leaders Al Ain, looked to impress with a convincing win against Al Dhafra on Saturday but were held by the visitors.
The host spearheaded their attack with Chilean mid fielder Luis Jiminez, Brazilian striker Grafite and Cameroon striker Achille Emana combining well to trouble the visitors.
Al Dhafra defender Mohammed Qassim marked Al Ahli’s prolific Brazilian striker Grafite well to thwart threatening advances.
As the game progressed, Al Ahli’s Tariq Ahmed was cautioned and later shown the yellow card for dangerous tackle as both teams fought for ball possession.
Al Ahli’s Cameroon striker Emana’s pass was squandered by Ismaeel Hamadi failing to give them an early lead.
Al Dhafra capitalised on Al Ahli’s lapses with French striker Amara Diane scripting moves with Senegal striker Makhete Diop supporting him from the right flank. But the visitors did not look threatening at any point of the first half.
The hosts, with Ismaeel Hamadi and Chilean mid fielder Luis Jiminez on several occasions, made forays into the rival domain but failed to break Dhafra defence.
Al Ahli dominated the first half-hour of play against an adamant Dhafra who were standing at the 10th position with 14 points after their shock win against Al Nasr in the 12th round.
Dhafra keeper Khalid Sinani would have almost paid for a fumble, with Al Ahli’s Grafite waiting to tap a corner kick which was eventually cleared by the alert keeper.
Al Ahli ploughed back attacking strongly as the clock raced towards the half time mark. Al Dhafra’s Mohammed Qassim brought down striker Emana with a dangerous tackle in the danger zone in the 45th minute resulting in a penalty.
Brazilian striker Grafite took a clean shot into the net giving Al Ahli a 1-0 lead, minutes before half-time.
In the second half Al Ahli missed the nets twice with Grafite failing to get on top of his shot. The visitors played a defensive game with their Senegal striker Makhete Diop looking hopeless without any support in the frontline.
Both teams failed to find their mark missing sitters. The closely contested game in the second half resulted in Al Ahli getting their second yellow card with Mubarak Ghanim being booked for dangerous tackle.
In the dying minutes Grafite’s rasping shot was punched well over the bar by Sinani to deny Al Ahli their second goal.
Al Dhafra restored parity with Senegal striker Makhete Diop heading in a corner kick in the 89th minute.