Hosts and defending champions Dubai Police rounded off their preliminary round matches on an unbeaten note as they squeezed out a solitary goal win against Dubai Civil Defence in the Eighth Late Maktoum Bin Rashid Memorial Football Championship being played at the Dubai Police Officers Club.
In Friday’s action, Sanad Ali scored the lone goal of the match as the hosts headed into the knockout quarter-finals with an unbeaten record of three wins and a draw. Led by former Al Shabab defender Mohammad Abdullah, Dubai Police did not allow the Dubai Civil Defence strikers too many liberties upfront. Finally, Sanad Ali intervened midway through the second half in what proved to be the match-winner for Dubai Police.
“We were hoping to have at least a draw. But to end the group with three points gives us a lot of confidence going into the knockout rounds,” Mohammad Abdullah told Gulf News.
“We are fortunate to have a few days off with the quarter-finals scheduled to kick off only next Thursday. So it will be back to the drawing board for us to see where we can play better as a team,” he added.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Police secured their first win of the tournament with a hard-fought 3-2 result against the Mohammad Ali Taim Team 3-2. Nader Al Harthi opened the scoring in the third minute for Abu Dhabi Police and Ahmad Juma ensured a 2-0 cushion in the 18th minute as the cops went in for the break.
Ahmad Abdullah pulled one back for the Mohammad Ali Taim Team four minutes into the second half, but Al Harthi ensured a two-goal difference with his second goal on the night in the 26th minute. Suhail Al Noobi got a second goal for the Mohammad Ali Taim Team in the final minute, and the cops held on for maximum points for the first time in three matches.
Abu Dhabi Police bt Mohammad Ali Taim Team 3-2
Dubai Police bt Dubai Civil Defence 1-0
Khoury Hotels drew Late Ebrahim Marouf Team 0-0
Sharjah Falcon bt RAK Civil Defence 3-0 (Walkover)