UAE Pro-League Wrap: Al Jazira go third, Al Ain lose
Al Jazira climbed to third in the UAE Pro-League after notching a 3-1 win at a nine-man Bani Yas on Monday.
Luis Milla's side entered the match one point below Bani Yas in the table and were forced to come from behind on their way to winning an exciting encounter that puts them in the box seat to qualify for the AFC Champions League.
Saleh Hamad fired Bani Yas into a 15th minute lead and it was an advantage they almost held until half-time.
Abdulla Mousa's leveller on 43 minutes changed the complexion of the game though, as Al Jazira headed into the break with the momentum.
Brazilian forward Ricardo Oliveira's 28th goal of the season in all competitions put Al Jazira in front after 55 minutes, and just two minutes later Bani Yas defender Thamer Mohammed was sent off for a second yellow card.
Oliveira – who entered the match with goals in his last four matches – bagged a second just after the hour-mark to give the visitors some breathing space.
And Bani Yas' hopes of an unlikely comeback were dashed when Amer Abdulrahman was sent off, after also receiving two yellow cards, with 18 minutes to play.
The result is hugely significant for Al Jazira, with the top three clubs in the UAE Pro-League at season's end earning berths in the AFC Champions League.
With just one match remaining in the season, Al Jazira (46 points) can now only be caught for third by Bani Yas (44 points).
And a superior goal difference means that all Al Jazira need to do is draw with mid-table Al Wahda at home in their season-ending fixture to secure third position on the table.
A total of six matches were played on Saturday, with champions Al Ain suffering a 2-0 defeat at Al Wahda in the headline fixture.
Second-placed Al Ahli cruised to a 3-0 success at Ajman thanks to a double from Chilean Luis Jimenez, while Luiz Henrique and Ciel scored in Al Shabab's 2-0 win over Dubai.
Dibba Al Fujairah - who sit second from bottom on the table - have renewed hope of escaping the drop after they beat relegated Al Ittihad Kalba 2-1 away from home, to close within two points of Al Shaab.
Al Shaab played out a goalless draw against Al Wasl while in the day's other match, Al Nasr suffered their third defeat in succession, going down 2-1 at home Al Dhafra.