Dubai: Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari was optimistic that his team could get even better if they stick to their philosophy of expressing themselves as a collective unit.
Sharjah smashed five past a hapless Al Wasl for a 5-1 win to bring down the curtains on Round Four of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) late on Saturday.
That result kept the defending champions at the top of the pile with maximum 12 points from four matches while Al Wasl continued to struggle at the deep end with just one point to their credit.
The star for Sharjah, once again, was their Brazilian striker Igor Coronado as he scored two and set up one to break the spirit of the Cheetahs at their home ground in Al Zabeel.
After Coronado had done much of the damage, Ryan Mendes, Ricardo Gomes and Marcus Vinicius added one each till Fabio de Lima pulled one back with 10 minutes remaining from the end.
While Sharjah continued ruling at the top, the other big clubs didn’t stay far behind as Shabab Al Ahli Dubai continued their chase on the leaders with a 2-0 win at home against Bani Yas.
Al Ain slipped into third with nine points after they were made to sweat at home by visiting Hatta for a 2-1 win, while Al Jazira returned to winning ways with a 3-1 away win to Khor Fakkan.
The biggest result of the week was an inspiring away display from Al Nasr, who fought back from a goal down to play some brilliant football in the second half for a well-deserved 3-1 win over Al Wahda.
Leading the men in blue was their skipper and former Spanish international Alvaro Negredo with two brilliant headers while substitute Habib Al Fardan came off the bench to pin a third goal later towards the end as Al Nasr secured their first win of the season.
However in Dubai, it was all about the ignominy handed out to the Cheetahs by the visiting Sharjah.
Coach Al Anbari — a veteran of many battles during his playing days and now as the only Emirati coach in the AGL — refused to look too much into the win.
“We seriously hope Al Wasl can cope with this defeat and return even stronger. They are one of the strong clubs in the UAE and we hope they can compete at their best. We are a team in progress and we need to continue what we are doing as a team rather than focus on individual performances,” Al Anbari told media later.
Under-pressure Al Wasl coach Laurentiu Reghecampf refused to sulk despite the bad results. “I don’t think we have to put up the red flag. We started very well tonight and had we scored early, then things would have been a lot different. We are missing some key players and we were unlucky,” the coach said.
“But I don’t want to find excuses. I am here and I take responsibility. I think this team will come back. They only need a little bit more concentration. I have huge confidence in the administration but if they ask me to go, then so be it. We all know what needs to be done to fix things, and it is left up to the players to put in some extra hard work. The next few days are not going to get any easy as we have six games in the next 19 days,” he added.
(On Friday) Al Dhafrah 1 Ajman 0; Kalba 1 Fujairah 0
(On Saturday) Al Wasl 1 Sharjah 5; Al Ain 2 Hatta 1; Al Wahda 3 Al Nasr 1; Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 2 Bani Yas 0; Khor Fakkan 1 Al Jazira 3.