Dubai: Al Jazira, Bani Yas, Al Nasr and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai were among the big winners in Round 15 of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) over the weekend.
Al Jazira spanked neighbours Al Dhafra 5-1, while Shabab Al Ahli Dubai were equally ruthless in their 4-1 drubbing of 13-time champions Al Ain. Bani Yas and Al Nasr kept up the pressure on faltering defending champions Sharjah with identical 2-1 home wins against Fujairah and Khor Fakkan respectively.
In the match of the week, it was all honours and full points to Shabab Al Ahli Dubai as the Red Knights swept away Al Ain convincingly with Carlos Eduardo securing a brace for the away team. The 33-year-old attacking midfielder opened the scoring from the spot in the ninth minute and then added a second in the 74th minute with a powerful left-footed drive in-between a Federico Cartabia goal in the 53rd. Igor Jesus also got his name on the scoresheet eight minutes from the end, while Mohannad Salem pulled one back for the hosts deep into injury time.
UAE national team striker Ali Mabkhout bagged a hat-trick in Al Jazira’s 5-1 away win against neighbours Al Dhafra. Mabkhout provided for Khalfan Mubarak’s ninth minute opener, only to see the hosts draw level when Al Jazira defender Salim Rashid mistakenly guided the ball into his own net in the 19th minute.
Makhete Diop was given a red card in the 52nd minute and Al Jazira capitalised on this numerical advantage with Mabkhout putting visitors ahead 2-1 in the 58th minute from the spot. New signing Brandley Kuwas made it 3-1 in the 65th minute before Mabkhout got his second in the 69th and rounded up his hat-trick in the 79th minute for full points.
Bani Yas and Al Nasr also came up with worthy performances while earning home wins over Fujairah and Khor Fakkan.
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Douglas Coutinho opened the scoring for Fujairah after only 13 minutes when the Brazilian’s powerful shot from outside the box left Bani Yas goalkeeper helpless.
The home side looked more dangerous in the second half and needed only three minutes to net the equaliser when Hassan Al Muharrami headed home a corner. The Sky Blues scored a second time when Joao Pedro’s inch-perfect header in the 78th minute found them return to winning ways and raise their tally to 29 points and reclaim third place.
Sharjah dropped vital points in Abu Dhabi against Al Wahda. Luan Pereira gave Sharjah the lead following a close tap-in on the half-hour mark. The VAR was requested and the referee awarded the goal.
Al Wahda’s came close to an equaliser four minutes away from half-time, but new signing Omar Khrbin’s shot was saved by Sharjah goalkeeper Adel Al Hossani. The home team got an equaliser just three minutes after the restart when Khrbin’s well-timed header went into the back of the net.
Pereira came close to giving Sharjah the lead on at least two occasions — in the 70th and 84th minute — but Al Wahda goalkeeper Mohammad Al Shamsi denied the Brazilian on both occasions.
This result marked the first draw between the two teams in the league at Al Nahyan Stadium since 2014. Despite dropping vital points, Sharjah continued at the top of the standings with 36 points, while Al Wahda have 23 points.
Algerian Mehdi Abeid snatched a late match-winner well into injury period as Al Nasr bagged full points against visiting Khor Fakkan. After playing out a goalless first half, the home team took the lead when their Portuguese midfielder Toze scored when his power-packed shot from well outside the box nestled into the net in the 72nd minute.
Khor Fakkan refused to give up and found an equaliser through Raphael Guimaraes whose powerful free kick from outside the area bulged the nets in the 86th minute. Just when it looked like the match was headed for a draw, Algerian Abeid netted in the 93rd minute to secure three valuable points and help the Blues into fourth place with 27 points.
Bani Yas 2 Fujairah 1
Al Nasr 2 Khor Fakkan 1
Al Wahda 1 Sharjah 1
Al Dhafra 1 Al Jazira 5
Al Wasl 2 Hatta 1
Kalba 2 Ajman 1
Al Ain 1 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 4
1. Sharjah (36 points)
2. Al Jazira 33
3. Bani Yas 29
4. Al Nasr 27
5. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 25
6. Al Ain 24
7. Al Wahda 23
8. Al Wasl 23
9. Kalba 22
10. Al Dhafra 16
11. Khor Fakkan 15
12. Ajman 9
13. Fujairah 7
14. Hatta 2