Dubai: The old combination of Caio Canedo and Fabio De Lima rediscovered their scoring touch as Al Wasl stemmed the rot with a 6-3 drubbing of 10-man Fujairah after Sharjah had consolidated their position at the top the previous night with a 2-1 result against defending champions Al Ain in Round 8 action of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL).
The away win helped Sharjah open up a narrow two-point gap at the top of the table from Al Jazira — who were surprisingly held 3-3 by Dibba in Thursday’s second early match.
In Wednesday’s action, Sharjah nosed ahead in the 24th minute when Welliton Soares found the net to climb in first position of the topscorers’ list. The visitors doubled the score just past the hour when Igor Coronado converted from the spot.
The home team pulled one back in the 67th minute after Swedish striker Marcus Berg found the far corner. Al Ain managed a second goal, but the referee ruled it offside as Sharjah returned home with 20 points.
On Thursday, Al Wasl got their hands on full points for only the third time this season after having lost in their last three encounters. The Cheetahs had fallen to Al Dhafra (2-1), against neighbours Al Nasr (3-1) and last week against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (3-2).
Coming in handy for the home team was the evergreen scoring combination between De Lima and Canedo that saw the Brazilian duo get three goals each. Canedo opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he headed home following a corner. The home side got a one-man advantage when Fujairah’s Mohammad Benyettou was shown a straight red card in the 28th minute.
Al Wasl cashed in on this with their captain turning provider with a long ball that saw De Lima chest inside the box and slam home past Saleh Rabea to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute. Canedo got his second goal in the very first minute of the second half, only to see Fujairah pull one back in the 64th minute through Khalid Abdullah.
The game opened up even more and De Lima made it 4-1 in the 69th minute with a beauty of a free kick only to see Fujairah captain Hilal Saeed prod home a second for his side in the 74th minute.
Canedo then got his hat-trick two minutes from full-time, only to see substitute Omar Kossoko get a third goal for the visitors. But De Lima had the final say as he made his way past three defenders and slotted home his third of the evening to join his captain with a hat-trick apiece.