The Al Shabab vs Al Shaab match during the Arabian Gulf League tournament at the Al Shabab Club. Al Shabab is placed second while Al Wahda are still away from the top slot. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Al Ahli continued their steady march towards the Arabian Gulf League title, maintaining their six-point lead over Al Shabab, their nearest rivals after 18 weeks of the professional competition.

The league leaders will host Bani Yas next week before the league stops for a month to allow the national team to take part in the qualifiers of the 2015 Asian Cup while the trio of Al Ahli, Al Ain and Al Jazira will take part in the AFC Champions League group stage matches.

Al Ahli will, however, miss the services of their creative attacking midfielder Luis Jimenez — who was sent off in their match against Emirates.

The hopes of the reigning champions Al Ain defending the title they won for past two seasons were further reduced as they lost the Abu Dhabi Derby to Al Wahda and are now 15 points behind the leaders, Al Ahli, whom they will face in the final of the President’s Cup in May.

Second placed Al Shabab, meanwhile, found the going tough against the lowly Al Shaab before Edgar Bruno scored the only goal of the match to keep his team on the chase for the top seat.

Former champions Al Wahda are still away from the top but the victory over their traditional rivals will motivate the players to do their best in the remaining matches to end with the top teams to earn a place in the AFC Champions League next season.

Ajman was the one big winner this week when they defeated Al Wasl for the second time this season to edge away from the two relegation places leaving them to Al Shaab and Dubai, respectively.

Shajrah was the big winner, keeping in mind the odds stacked against the team in the absence of both top strikers, Fellype Gabriel and Ze Carlos. Paolo Bonamigo kept his faith in the youngsters Omar Juma and Yousuf Saeed, who showed outstanding form and led their team to victory.

Sharjah had been, in the past, criticised for lack of attention and care towards the junior teams which led their relegation to the amateur league. This season though, they have unveiled some promising players who can form the future nucleus of the team.