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Big guns fail to fire as Sharjah, Bani Yas collect maximum points

Kareem's hat-trick sinks stuttering Al Wasl as Al Nasr lose at home

Image Credit: Atiq-ur-rehman/Gulf News
A Bani Yas player dribbles past his opponents from Al Nasr during the UAE Football League at Al Nasr Club.
Gulf News

Dubai: Mustafa Kareem stole the limelight with his superb hat-trick as Sharjah defied the odds to thrash Al Wasl 4-2 on a day of upsets which saw Dubai giants Al Nasr losing at home to UAE Football League newcomers Bani Yas.

Sharjah went down 1-0 early on into the game as Wasl skipper Eisa Ali Al Beloushi slotted home from the spot in the 14th minute.

It was the first of Al Beloushi's two goals from the spot. He would step up later — in the 64th minute — to reduce Al Wasl's deficit to two goals.

Going down, though, brought out the best in Sharjah as Iraqi hitman Kareem took to the task of spearheading their attack.

Kareem helped Sharjah equalise in the 22nd minute when he curled a 25-yard free-kick around second-choice Wasl keeper Rashid Ali, who was filling in for suspended Majid Nasser.

Ali had absolutely no chance of pulling a save then and was beaten flat out when Brazilian Marcelo Oliveira Silva put Sharjah ahead in the 33rd minute from the spot.

Kareem made it 3-1 just before the break when he bent his shot past Ali, who could only sigh in disbelief as he trudged back a third time to collect the ball from the back of the net.

The Iraqi striker completed his hat-trick in the 54th minute when he dived low to head past Ali, who was without a reply once again.

Victory took Sharjah to fifth in the UFL table, a point and one spot behind Bani Yas, 2-1 winners over Al Nasr on the road.

Sharjah team manager Badr Ahmad said: "It was a good match and we played very well. Everybody is happy with this result — the coach, the players because everyone worked together and did what was asked of them.

"Mustafa Kareem had a very good game; his performance was brilliant. It brought back a lot of faith and the fans are optimistic about what lies ahead.

"I think the key to winning was that we played as a team. We were there to do a job and we knew it was job done when we took a good 3-1 lead at half-time. Despite having to come from behind we went ahead and won in style."

Sharjah host Al Nasr next and Ahmad said his men must work to sustain winning momentum.

"We are looking forward to the next match. We didn't do too well last season but we're looking to improve and are building a side for the future," he said.

In the other match, UAE U-20 hero Theyab Awani and Papa George scored one goal each as Bani Yas grabbed full points away to Al Nasr.

Carlos Tenorio pulled a goal back for the hosts, when he converted his 53rd minute penalty but the result left a bad taste in coach Frank Pagelsdorf's mouth.

Complex game

"We played a very complicated game. We ran too much with the ball and we put ourselves under a bit of pressure. We had our chances, but we failed to take them," the German said.

Bani Yas coach Lutfi Al Bandarzi said: "The result will boost Bani Yas' confidence because we haven't lost a single match in the tournament."