Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai claimed the Arabian Gulf cup title with a nail-bititing penalty-kick win over Al Nasr at Sharjah Stadium on Friday night.
Shabab started brighter of the two with Federico Cartabia getting two opportunities to give his side the lead inside the first 10 minutes. First, on five minutes, the Italian failed to hit the target from a rather straightforward position just outside the box in the centre, then his looping chip from a free-kick on virtually the same spot crashed onto the crossbar with Al Nasr goalkeeper Ahmed Shambih comprehensively beaten.
That woke up the Blues from their slumber and they surged forward determinedly with Frenchman Ryan Mendes watching agonisingly as his shot ricocheted off a Shabab Al Ahli shirt and flew just wide of goalkeeper Majed Naser’s left post. Moments later, another effort was sidefooted wide by Saeed Ali.
Al Nasr’s best opportunity was squandered by Mehdi Abeid in the 27th when Walid Abbas’ attempt at clearing the ball dropped it at the foot of the French midfielder, who shot straight into the welcoming arms of Naser.
Shabab Al Ahli had a couple of chances five minutes from the break but Carlos Eduardo first saw his shot drift wide after a deflection and lofted a header over the crossbar.
Shabab Al Ahli had a penalty shout negated by VAR on the hour mark and in the 75th Eduardo’s weak header from a free-kick turned out to be easy pickings for Shambih.
Nasr’s best opportunity of the second half arrived in the 84th via a free-kick at the top of the box in the middle, but diminutive Portuguese midfielder Antonio Carvalho shot straight into the wall with the rebound being cleared by an onrushing Yousef Jaber.
Eduardo should have put the tie to bed in the 90th, but failed to hit the target from a regulation header from six yards out despite having all the time in the world.