Having beaten Al Jazira to go six clear last week, Al Ain fell behind to Makhete Diop's 10th-minute goal, with Jires Kembo-Ekoko salvaging a point just before the hour.
Al Jazira had put the pressure on with a 2-0 win over Al Ahli on Thursday in which they had Basheer Saeed sent off late on, while Al Shabab are within six points of the leaders after overcoming Bani Yas 1-0.
At the other end of the table At Ittihad Kalba claimed only their second win of the season as Danilo Bueno's 82nd-minute strike gave the bottom club a 1-0 success at fellow strugglers Ajman.
Elsewhere, Al Wasl cruised to a 3-0 triumph against Al Wahda, Al Nasr won 1-0 at Al Fujairah and Al Sharjah drew 1-1 with Emirates.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.