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UAE Pro League
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Al Dhafra net late to earn 1-1 draw with Shabab Al Ahli

Denilson netted late as Al Dhafra and Shabab Al Ahli played out a 1-1 draw at Rashid Stadium on Friday in the first leg of the Arabian Gulf Cup playoff round held under the slogan “commit to win”. 

Shabab Al Ahli wasted a chance to get an early lead, when Ismael Al Hammadi lobbed the ball over Al Dhafra keeper Khalid Al Senani but it went wide just four minutes into the game. 

Just before the quarter-hour mark, Brazilian forward Denilson missed an opportunity put his side 1-0 ahead after the ball fell to him following a defensive blunder. The 25-year-old went one-on-one with the keeper but ended up sending the ball over the bar. 

Al Dhafra were forced into an early substitution when Khalid Butti was subbed off for Ahmed Mahmoud 20 minutes into the game. 

Ten minutes before halftime, Al Hammadi missed another goalscoring chance as his shot hit the woodwork. The hosts continued to look more dangerous in front of the goal but were unable to find the back of the net as the first half ended in a 0-0 draw. 

Just after the restart, the home side missed an opportunity to take the lead, as Ahmed Al Attas, who was in front of the goal, found Heldon’s pass but ended up sending the ball wide.  

It was only 10 minutes later when Shabab Al Ahli took the lead. The hosts were awarded a penalty following a foul by Mohamed Saif against Federico Cartabia, who stepped up to the spot and fired into the bottom corner of the net. 

Shabab Al Ahli continued to pile on the pressure through substitute Igor Jesus but were denied by Al Senani.

Al Dhafra made a late comeback as they levelled the scoreline only three minutes from time. A perfect pass from veteran forward Saeed Al Kathiri found Denilson inside the box as he calmly slotted home to make it 1-1. 

The second leg is scheduled to be held on November 13. 

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