Al Ain and Al Wasl concluded matchweek 1 of the Arabian Gulf League with an entertaining 2-2 draw at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.
The hosts got off to a flyer when Swedish striker Markus Berg scored his first Al Ain goal inside five minutes. Brazilian winger Caio Lucas advanced into the box and square for Berg who was well-positioned to finish from close distance.
The Swede turned from hero to villain for the hosts when he scuffled with Al Wasl's Ali Abdulrahman in Al Ain penalty box, compelling the referee to point to the spot and award The Cheetahs a penalty-kick that Caio Canedo converted five minutes before the half-time break.
Yousef Al Zaabi made a number of saves throughout the first half, but early in the second half, Al Wasl goalkeeper rushed to beat Al Ain's Douglas to a loose ball, but the two players clashed and the goalkeeper was forced to leave the pitch with an injury and coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena introduced 22-years-old goalkeeper Sultan Al Manthari for his league debut.
The young goalkeeper's first experience was a duel with Berg to catch Omar Abdulrahman's cross, Al Wasl man was beaten to the ball and Berg squared to Douglas who converted from 6 yards out to restore Al Ain's lead in the 55th minute.
The Cheetahs' top goalscorer last season Fabio de Lima responded within eight minutes of Douglas' goal. The Brazilian was at the receiving end of Salem Al Azizi's far-post cross and fired a powerful volley that beat Khaled Eisa to put the final score at 2-2.