Abu Dhabi: Shabab Al Ahli was in no mood to take their foot off the pedal as they kept the pressure on front-runners Sharjah by beating Al Nasr 3-1 in matchweek 24 of the Arabian Gulf League at Al Maktoum Stadium on Friday.
With this win, Shabab Al Ahli have reached the landmark of 50 points and were three behind Sharjah, who were scheduled to play their outing against Al Wasl late on Saturday evening. The two-way battle for title is set to go down to the wire and none of the teams can afford to relax with just two rounds remaining.
Mohammad Marzouq opened the scoring for Shabab Al Ahli in the 12th minute through a header following a cross from Emiliano Vecchio.
Twenty minutes into the contest, Ahmad Khalil doubled the lead through a free-kick. Al Nasr, however, found the back of the net with a clinical effort from Junior Dutra just before the break to make it 2-1. The tally for Shabab Al Ahli was completed by Henrique Luvannor just a minute into the injury time.
Elsewhere, a hat-trick by Spaniard Pedro Conde allowed Bani Yas to defeat Ittihad Kalba 3-2 at the Bani Yas Stadium. For Ittihad Kalba, Abdullah Salem and Ahmad Amer reduced the margin. Bani Yas are now placed sixth with 39 points while Kalba remained in 11th spot with 24 points.
A hat-trick by Mohammad Benyettou saw Fujairah thrash Al Dhafra 5-1, with Fernando Gabriel and Ahmad Moosa completing the tally for the winners. The consolation goal for Al Dhafra came from Nicolas Milesi. Al Dhafra remain on 10th place with 28 points.
Al Jazira also defeated Emirates 3-0 to take a firm grip on the third spot. Zayed Al Ameri opened the scoring for the Pride of Abu Dhabi after the change of ends, Nacer Barazite doubled it one minute from time while Leonardo Pereira netted a third deep into injury time.
Emirates and Fujairah, tied on 18 points, now occupy 12th and 13th places, respectively. Al Jazira, with 44 points, has widened the gap on Al Ain and Al Wahda to four points.