Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli showed improvement under their new coach, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, as they tamed Dibba 1-0 away in an early game in the Arabian Gulf League on Friday. In the other early game, Emirates and Bani Yas played out a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Mohammad Marzooq gave Shabab Al Ahli an early lead when he struck in the third minute and the team managed to hold on to the lead to climb onto the fifth spot with nine points from six matches. For Arruabarrena, who replaced Chilean Jose Luis Sierra after the Dubai club suffered three defeats in their first five league fixtures, it’s a job well begun but he has his task cut out to show further improvement in the season.
Emirates, meanwhile, came back after being down by an early goal from Pedro Perez Conde to scrap it out with Bani Yas. Trailing 1-0 as early as in the eighth minute, Emirates levelled things when Walid Amber struck from a penalty on the stroke of half-time. Saeed Salem Juma Mubarak Al Gafri scored soon after resumption to make it 2-1 but more drama followed with Saad Surour finally ensuring a point for them in injury time.
Two of the Dubai clubs, Al Wasl (sixth) and Al Nasr (12th) will be locked in a derby at the Zabeel Stadium in a late game while Kalba will be crossing swords with Fujairah.
The four table-toppers of the league after five rounds will be locked in high profile contests on Saturday. Sharjah, a surprise leader of the standings after five rounds, take on Ajman at home in an early game while holders Al Ain, currently in second position, battle Al Jazira (fourth) in the late match of the day. Al Wahda, another Abu Dhabi outfit and currently in third position, host Al Dhafra at home from 5 pm.