Dubai: Brazilian striker Welliton Soares scored a brace as Sharjah put their campaign back on track with a 2-1 home win against visiting Al Wasl in the ninth round of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) this weekend.
With scores tied 1-1, Soares found the back of the Cheetahs’ net with a header deep into injury time to help the defending champions claim a vital win. Sharjah had stuttered to two successive draws in as many weeks after getting off to a smooth start with six wins since the start of the season. And on Thursday it looked like the home team was heading toward splitting points once again, until Soares rose high to head in a cross from Caio Lucas.
2. Al Jazira 20
3. Al Nasr 20
4. Kalba 16
5. Bani Yas 16
6. Al Ain 15
7. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 14
8. Al Wahda 14
9. Al Wasl 12
10. Al Dhafra 12
11. Khor Fakkan 5
12. Fujairah 4
13. Ajman 3
14. Hatta 1
The win ensured the defending champions kept top spot in the standings with 23 points, while Al Jazira and Al Nasr continued with their chase of the leaders with convincing home wins.
After Igor Coronado and Caio Lucas had close calls on the Al Wasl goal early, it was Soares who opened the scoring for the King on the 15th minute when Brazilian delightfully received a long ball before crashing in a powerful effort past Humaid Abdullah.
The King squandered a chance to double their lead in the 23rd minute, but Coronado’s kick hit the woodwork and went out of play.
Al Wasl levelled from the spot when they were awarded a penalty after Mohammad Abdul Basit’s foul on Ali Saleh saw Fabio Lima step up and convert to make it 1-1 just eight minutes away from half-time.
Sharjah persisted for three points and were suitably rewarded when a Caio Lucas cross found Soares inside the box to head home strongly deep into injury time and hand visiting Al Wasl their fifth defeat of the season.
In other matches, Al Jazira won the Abu Dhabi derby 2-0, while Al Nasr left it late for a hard-fought 3-2 win over visiting Fujairah. Both teams moved up into second and third places with an identical 20 points each, while Kalba made the biggest movement to occupy fourth position with a 2-1 away win in Khor Fakkan and Bani Yas once again started having a better sight at goals with a convincing 3-0 away win to Hatta.
Former champions Al Ain and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai once again dropped vital points over the weekend. The former 13-time champions from the Garden City were once again held to a goalless draw y visiting Ajman, while Shabab Al Ahli Dubai’s woes before goal continued after being held goalless by visiting Al Dhafra.
The tenth round of the AGL will be held on December 17-18.
Al Nasr 3 Fujairah 1
Al Ain 0 Ajman 0
Sharjah 2 Al Wasl 1
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 0 Al Dhafra 0
Hatta 0 Bani Yas 3
Al Jazira 2 Al Wahda 0
Khor Fakkan 1 Kalba 2