Al Jazira settled a five-goal thriller at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, sealing a 3-2 win over Ittihad Kalba in the postponed match from matchweek 15 of the ADNOC Pro League on Tuesday.
Bayron Garcés came close to giving Ittihad Kalba an early lead after just four minutes, when he drove inside the penalty area from the left and penetrated through Al Jazira defence before his shot from inside the box took a massive deflection off of Mohammed Al Attas, forcing an awkward save from goalkeeper Ali Khaseif.
The hosts immediately responded when Zayed Al Ameri met Abdalla Ramadan’s low cross with a right-footed shot, which passed agonizingly close on the wrong side of the upright.
Ittihad Kalba took the lead after 28 minutes when youngster Sultan Adil showed his poacher’s instinct, finding space inside the box and reacted quickest to convert home Abdulaziz Hamad’s drilled effort with a first-touch finish.
The hosts refused to give up as they regrouped in pursuit for the equaliser which arrived just six minutes later when Abdalla Ramadan dispossessed an opponent inside the Ittihad Kalba half and Abdoulaye Diaby picked up the ball, unleashed a powerful left-footed shot that nestled into the top corner of the net to restore parity.
Coach Marcel Keizer took the lead for the first time on the night just after the hour-mark as Milos Kosanovic met Mamadou Coulibaly’s cross with a looping header that found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Buoyed by the goal, Al Jazira went for the kill, adding a third instantly as Oumar Traore collected the ball just before the halfway line then fed Diaby who in turn slipped a superb through pass for Ali Mabkhout to apply the finish in the 64th minute.
Veteran Mohanad Salem revived the visitors' hopes, reducing the deficit with a powerful header in the 77th minute following Robert Zulj’s whipped cross from the corner.
Salem’s goal would prove too little too late as Al Jazira held on to collect the three points and move up to third place in the ADNOC Pro League with 38 points, while Ittihad Kalbaa’s tally froze at 20 points in tenth place.