190319 Alvaro Negredo
Former Spanish international Alvaro Negredo struck a double to help his team Al Nasr rally for a 2-2 draw in Arabian Gulf League on Friday night. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai insisted they will continue to pursue the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) title after dropping crucial points against cross-city opponents Al Nasr in 18th week action of the competition late on Friday.

“Every match is like a fresh lesson that we need to learn from each week,” Shabab Al Ahli Dubai coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena told media after the two teams had played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

The experienced Ahmad Khalil and former Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo scored a brace each as the two Dubai sides split points. Khalil opened the scoring in the 24th minute after playing a one-two with Brazilian Henrique Luvannor, and then scored his second in the 31st minute as the home team went into the break 2-0 ahead.

However, Negredo pulled one back within 10 minutes of the second half and then deep into injury period, the Spaniard was left unmarked at the far post to tap in an equalizer.

Despite the draw, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai continue at the top with 40 points, followed by 13-time champions Al Ain with 37 points and Al Jazira just a point away in third. Al Wahda are not far behind in fourth with 32 points, the same tally as defending champions Sharjah. Al Dhafra are in sixth with 29 points and Al Nasr continue in seventh with 28.

Fujairah and Hatta are at the bottom of the table with 12 and 13 points, respectively, while KhorFakkan managed to pull themselves up while winning at home against Bani Yas on Thursday night. Kalba (16) and Ajman (18) could also be among those slipping down further, should they have the going tough in the last eight rounds of the competition.

“We are aware that the difference between us and Al Ain is just three points now. But that’s the least of my worry as there are other teams that have an equally good chance to go all out for the title,” Arruabarrena admitted.

“We’ve got to re-visit our basics and learn how we can stop teams from denying us good results after taking the lead. All the players are aware of this situation and I am sure they will adapt well during our next match,” the Argentinean coach hoped.

RESULTS

Thursday: Sharjah 1 Hatta 1; Al Ain 2 Fujairah 1; Khor Fakkan 2 Bani Yas 1; Al Wasl 2 Al Dhafra 1.

Friday: Kalba 1 Al Jazira 2; Al Wahda 1 Ajman 0; Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 2 Al Nasr 2

Standings

(At the end of the 18th round)

Pos. Club P W D L GD Pts

1. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 18 12 4 2 25 40

2. Al Ain 18 11 4 3 27 37

3. Al Jazira 18 10 3 5 10 33

4. Al Wahda 18 10 2 6 2 32

5. Sharjah 18 9 5 4 12 32

6. Al Dhafra 18 9 2 7 2 29

7. Al Nasr 18 8 4 6 4 28

8. Al Wasl 18 7 5 6 -3 26

9. Bani Yas 18 5 5 8 -7 20

10. Ajman 18 4 6 8 -11 18

11. Kalba 18 5 1 12 -14 16

12. Khor Fakkan 18 3 6 9 -13 15

13. Hatta 18 3 4 11 -16 13

14. Fujairah 18 3 3 12 -18 12