Al Shabab's Julio Cesar tries to weave his way past Bani Yas defender Thamer Mohammad Ahmad in their first round match of the etisalat pro league in Dubai late on Saturday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

Dubai: Bani Yas and Al Ain turned in winning performances against Al Shabab and Dubai Club to get their 2010-’11 campaign off to a solid start in the UFL’s etisalat pro league late on Saturday.

While Bani Yas fought their way to a dreary solitary goal win against Al Shabab in Dubai, Al Ain recovered from a one-goal deficit to squeak past gritty newcomers Dubai 4-3 in their opening round matches.

Last season’s top scorer Jose Sand scored a brace and Omar Abdul Rahman and Abdul Aziz Faiz scored once each for the winners. The never-say-die Dubai Club took the lead early through French striker Michael Ndri, while Rashid Tiberkanin added late strikes for the visitors.

In the Dubai encounter, Bani Yas secured full points, thanks to an all-important strike from Senegalese Andre Senghor a minute after the hour mark.

Though neither of the two teams looked sharp enough on a warm, humid night it was Bani Yas – who ended last season in a creditable fourth position – that scored and that proved to be enough for full points on the night.

With both sides taking their time to settle down, a Mohammad Ahmad try for Al Shabab from the right flank in the 11th minute was the first instance that either team threatened goal.

The lively Dhiab Awana was a constant thorn on the home goal from the right, but the best he could was a couple of free kicks that he drew with his runs early in the first session.

The home team had a second chance on goal in the 37th minute, but Lamine Diarra failed came to navigate past Bani Yas goalkeeper Al Marzooqi on the Bani Yas goal.

The second half began on a more promising note with Senghor miscuing a shot right in front of the Al Shabab goal and barely a minute later, Bani Yas goalkeeper Al Marzooqi stretched to the full for an abortive corner.

The visitors got the elusive goal a minute after the hour mark when Senghor rose to lend the finishing touches to a deft cross from Ammer Al Hammadi from the right.


  • Al Ain bt Dubai Club 4-3
  • Bani Yas bt Al Shabab 1-0.