Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and Khor Fakkan were the biggest beneficiaries at either end of the standings at the end of the 14th round of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL).
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai rode on a 30th minute strike from Federico Cartabia to scrape their way through to a 1-0 win over Hatta and keep their leadership with 35 points. Khor Fakkan, on the other hand, Khor Fakkan earned their first-ever win of the season with a stunning 2-1 result over defending champions Sharjah.
Otabek Shukurov put the home team in the clear on the 12th minute, only to see Fahad Hadeed pull back the equaliser in the 54th minute before Antonio Junior came off the bench to earn full points for the under dogs.
With Shabab Al Ahli Dubai enjoying their privileged position at the top with 35 points, it was Al Jazira keeping up the pressure on the leaders with 27 points following their solitary-goal win over Al Dhafrah.
Sharjah, Al Nasr and Al Ain — who had a day off due to their AFC Champions League play-off tie against Uzbek side FC Bunyodkor — are all tied with 24 points followed by Al Wahda and Al Dhafrah with an identical 23 points.
“We are in a good position, but we need to keep this concentration heading into the later stages of the competition,” Spaniard Pedro Conde told Gulf News.
“It is just the start of the second round of the league and there is a long way to go before the competition ends. Till then we’ve got to keep our composure and focus on one match at a time,” he added.
In other matches, Al Wahda kept off Fujairah to win 2-1 and Bani Yas thrashed Ajman 4-1 while neighbours Al Wasl and Al Nasr settled for a goalless draw.
The 15th round of the AGL will be held on February 1 and 2 with Al Ain hosting Al Wasl on Saturday, while league leaders Shabab Al Ahli Dubai will be up against Fujairah on Sunday.