Dubai: Al Jazira went on top of the Arabian Gulf League with a 6-0 win at home to second-from-bottom Emirates on Friday after previous leaders Sharjah drew 1-1 at home to Al Wasl.
Hat-tricks from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Mabkhout put the Pride of Abu Dhabi top on goal difference, but level on 25 points with Al Ain and Sharjah.
What makes this all the more impressive for Al Jazira is the fact that they recently failed to hold onto their coach Marcel Keizer, who was poached by Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon last month, only to be replaced by his assistant Damien Hertog in the interim.
Sharjah lost their solo-lead after being held by 11th-placed Al Wasl. Caio Correa cancelled out Ryan Mendes’ early penalty with an equaliser just before half-time.
Elsewhere, Al Ain beat bottom-placed Dibba 4-0 at home with a brace from Marcus Berg and a goal each from Hussain Al Shahat and Caio Lucas.
Fourth-placed Shabab Ahli stay hot on the heels of the top three with a 1-0 win at home to 10th placed Al Nasr, courtesy of a lone goal from Walid Abbas.
Al Wahda also wrestled back their fifth position from Ajman with a 2-1 win away to the Orange Brigade. In the first game since Al Wahda sacked coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, the Clarets overcame now sixth-placed Ajman with Leonardo’s two goals ruling out Mame Thiam’s opener.
Other games saw seventh-placed Fujairah held 1-1 at home to third-from-bottom Al Dhafra.
Mohammad Benyettou incredibly scored what looked like a certain late winner for Fujairah on 91 minutes only for Saeed Al Kathiri to equalise on 96 minutes.
Meanwhile, eighth-placed Bani Yas were held goalless away to ninth-placed Kalba.
There’s no rest for these sides now as the next round of fixtures comes just three days later. Leaders Al Jazira are away to lowly Al Dhafra from 4.55pm on Tuesday. Sharjah are away to resurgent Al Wahda from 4.50pm on Monday, and Al Ain are also away to Al Wasl from 7.30pm on the same day.
Shabab Ahli will look to keep pressure on the top three when they visit Bani Yas from 7.30pm on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Dibba are at home to Kalba from 4.40pm on Monday, Emirates play Ajman at home from 4.40pm on Tuesday and Al Nasr play Fujairah at home from 7.30pm on Tuesday.