(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Al Jazira's dream run in the AFC Champions League came to end with Al Ahli winning a nail-biting Round of 16 fixture on penalties at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was heartbreak for Al Jazira as they had rallied from a goal down and had taken the lead twice, once in regulation time and in the second period of extra time.
But with extra time finishing 3-3, the game was decided on penalties and Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli won 4-2. Watched by close to 14,000 specators, Ricardo Oliveira, who had scored two goals earlier in the game, missed from the spot and so did Lucas Neill.
Al Ahli scored through Marcelo Camacho, goalkeeper Almuaiouf Abdullah Ibrahim, substitute Yasir Hussain Al Fahmi and Victor. Jairo Fabian Palomino Sierra missed for Al Ahli. Sultan Barghash, Khamis Esmaeel scored for Al Jazira.
It was Al Jazira who started well in the opening minutes of the game with a couple of chances. They came close to going ahead in the very third minute but Matias Delgado fired his shot wide. Bare got a long ball from the middle but couldn't control it on the run. He recovered well to lay it up for the on-rushing Delgado, who shot it wide of the post.
Three minutes later, Ricardo Oliveira shot his left-footer over the cross bar. Abdulla Mousa came up with a neat cross from the left and Delgado tried to head it down but the defender got to it first. Oliveira pounced on the stray ball and went to his left to make space but fired it over the cross bar.
Al Ahli, who were left to play second fiddle in the opening minutes, came up with their first real chance in the 16th minute but were denied by Al Jazira goalkeeper Ali Khaseif, who punched away a threatening cross from Mansour Al Harbi from the left. But Al Ahli did go ahead off the second chance that they got in the 23rd minute through Marcelo Camacho, thanks to some poor defending. The Al Jazira defence failed to clear the ball and Camacho pounced on the ball after a goalmouth melee to slot it home.
But Al Jazira managed to cancel that out nine minutes later through Oliveira. Captain Ibrahim Diaky squared it up with a beautiful chip from the right and Oliveira headed it past an airborne goalkeeper Almuaiouf Abdullah Ibrahim.
It was just what Al Jazira needed as they went on the offensive after that goal. They had a chance in the 38th minute but Bare fired it over the cross bar after Diaky had sent in a long ball from the middle.
They muffed up an opportunity with three minutes left for half-time with Oliveira failing to get in on time for a header after Bare had crossed from the left.
Al Jazira had another chance a minute later after Diaky was brought down on the tip of the box but Oliveira's freekick was punched away by goalkeeper Almuaiouf Abdullah Ibrahim.
They had another chance on the stroke of half-time but Oliveira shot it wide of the far post after Bare had passed it a bit too early.
Al Ahli had a chance to go up three minutes after the break but Jazira goalkeeper Khaseif was again on hand to make a save after Mansour Al Harbi had come up with a try from the left.
But Al Jazira grabbed the initiative by going ahead in the 61st minute through Delgado. Substitute Sultan Barghash, who had just come on a minute earlier for Subait Khater, fired in a superb cross from the left and Delgado smartly side deflected it into goal.
Al Ahli's Jezawi took matters into his own hands with a solo from the right. He darted in and made his way to the middle but fired his shot over the cross bar.
But Al Ahli did get the equaliser with 15 minutes left on the clock through substitute Amad Ali Sulaiman Al Hosni. The Al Jazira defence were caught napping and Al Hosni pounced on the ball and lobbed it over the charging Ali Khaseif. Al Jazira came agonisingly close to putting the issue to bed in the second minute of four minutes of stoppage time but Oliveira fired his shot wide of the far post after Diaky had lobbed in a beautiful ball from the middle.
The first period of extra time did not yield a result even though Al Jazira had the better of the exchanges. They had a chance in the second period of extra time but Diaky shot wide after Abdulraheem Jumaa had fed him after having made his way through in the 111th minute.
Al Ahli too came up with a couple of tries but failed to finish. Oliveira thought he had put it to bed by giving them the lead in the 114th minute. Diaky made his way through the middle to before passing it to Oliveira on the right. Oliveira took a few steps in before slotting it into the far corner.
But Al Ahli equalised four minutes later through Victor, whose screamer had no answer from Ali Khaseif.