Dubai: Al Ain went five points clear at the top of the Arabian Gulf League after thrashing second-from-bottom Hatta 6-2 at home on Sunday.
Al Ain’s Rayhan Yaslam and Ahmad Khalil both had first half efforts cancelled out by Hatta’s Ahmad Khamis and Samuel Rosa, before Marcus Berg put the hosts 3-2 up before the break.
Berg added another in the second half after Hatta went down to 10-men before Hussain Al Shahat and Ahmad Barman rounded Al Ain’s tally up to six.
The win was even more impressive as Al Ain had been without the likes of suspended Omar Abdul Rahman and Mohanad Salem.
Hatta twice came from behind to equalise in the first half, first on 31 minutes when Mohammad Qassim’s cross was headed down by Maher Jassim ready for Ahmad Khamis to drill home. It cancelled out Rayhan Yaslam’s opener for Al Ain, heading in Hussain Al Shahat’s cross on 22 minutes.
Samuel Rosa then headed in Ahmad Khamis’s cross after a follow-up from a spilled free-kick on 38 minutes. That had similarly ruled out Ahmad Khalil’s 35 minute effort, following up on a long ball forward poorly cleared by defender Sabeel Al Madani, to tap past the keeper.
However, it was Al Ain who went in at the break 3-2 ahead when Al Shahat perfectly put Marcus Berg through on goal to slot right of the keeper on 44 minutes.
Hatta lost a man just before the hour when Mahmoud Qassem walked for a second booking in the space of six minutes.
Berg then outleapt the keeper while chasing a long ball forward from Esmail Ahmad to header in the fourth on 60 minutes. A one-two with Berg cut back by the Swede allowed Hussain Al Shahat to make it five, six minutes later. And Ahmad Barman’s long shot on 72 minutes wrapped up the onslaught at six.
Second-placed Al Wahda host Al Nasr on Wednesday with a chance to bring Al Ain’s lead back to two points, while third-placed Al Wasl can get back to within three points of Al Ain in their game away to Emirates on Monday.