Players of Al Wahda celebrate after winning their Arabian Gulf Cup match against Sharjah on Saturday.
Abdulla Anwar scored a hat-trick as Al Wahda eased past Sharjah 3-1at Sharjah Stadium in matchweek 2 of the Arabian Gulf Cup Group B on Saturday.
The Clarets started the game in an electrifying fashion, when Eduardo Voltan went up the left flank and sent an accurate cross towards Anwar, whose weak header crept past Sharjah’s goalkeeper Mayed Muhsin in the 15th minute, giving the guests a 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes ahead of the halftime whistle, Anwar doubled his tally when he finished Yahya Al Ghassani defence-splitting through pass with a perfectly-timed touch. This marked his fourth goal in the competition after only two games.
The King, who were pushing to reduce the deficit, responded in the 51st minute through Omar Juma, who cut inside from the left flank, but his right-footed curler was parried away by Rashed Ali into a corner kick.
Four minutes later, Voltan found Anwar in space with a clever pass. The 20-year-old finished into the back of the net with precision, scoring his third of the night.
Ghassani missed a glorious chance to further extend the Clarets’ lead, when he dribbled past Shaheen Abdalla, but his powerful strike cannoned off the crossbar. In the dying moments of the game, Mohamed Khalfan reduced the deficit for the King as he headed Juma’s right-footed cross past Ali.
Al Wahda controlled the remainder of the game, securing an impressive 3-1 victory to top Group B with six points ahead of their encounter against Bani Yas next week.
Meanwhile, Sharjah sit rock bottom of Group B’s table with zero points and will face Ajman in the next game.
In another match, Khorfakkan and Al Nasr played out a cautious 0-0 draw at Ittihad Kalba Stadium.
Khorfakkan were looking to get their first win of the season after falling to a 3-1 defeat to Al Jazira in the opening week. Meanwhile, Al Nasr had started the campaign in style with a 3-0 win over Ittihad Kalba.
While Al Nasr controlled the possession in the first half, they failed to pose significant threat on Khorfakkan’s goal.
Their most dangerous chance came seven minutes before the break, when Alvaro Negredo wasted a perfect opportunity to open the scoring. The Spanish forward failed to convert into an open net as the first half ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Blues looked more lively in the early stages of the second half. Six minutes after the restart, an effort from Brandley Kuwas was saved by Khor Fakkan keeper Mohamed Youssif.
On the other side of the field, Fahad Hadeed launched a counter-attack and sent a powerful effort from the edge of the box but it was saved by keeper Ibrahim Essa.
On the one-hour mark, Al Nasr came close to breaking the deadlock but Gabriel Valentini’s effort was saved by Youssif. The Blues continued to push forward and had a number of attempts on goal, but they weren’t enough as the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Khorfakkan remain in sixth place on one point while Al Nasr, who top Group A, raised their tally to four points.
Earlier, Ajman came from 2-0 down against Fujairah to earn a 2-2 draw at Fujairah Stadium on Friday.
Both sides were looking to get their first win after Fujairah lost 3-1 to Al Wahda and Ajman drew 0-0 with Hatta in the opening matchweek.
Ajman had the upper hand in the early minutes of the game but failed to find the back of the net.
Hasan Abdulrahman had a chance that hit the bar in the sixth before Abdullah Salem saved another effort from Abdulrahman in the 11th minute.
Around the quarter-hour mark, Fernando Gabriel opened the scoring for the hosts. The Brazilian forward fired a long-range effort into the top corner of the net, leaving keeper Ali Al Hosani helpless.
His fellow countryman Jhonnattann Benites added the second for the home side 15 minutes later. Fernando Gabriel turned from scorer to provider as he sent an inch-perfect pass to 30-year-old Benites on the edge of the box, who went one-on-one with Hosani and tapped the ball home.
An own-goal from Abdullah Saleh Al Junaibi halved the deficit for Ajman in the 36th minute. The Fujairah defender tried to clear the ball off a free-kick but ended up knocking it into his team’s own net.
The Oranges had a fiery start to the second half as William Owusu netted the equalizer only three minutes after the restart to get Ajman back into the game. The Ghanaian forward’s header proved too strong for Fujairah keeper Abdulla Salem, making it 2-2.
Ajman controlled the proceedings in the next minutes but failed to pose enough threat on Fujairah’s goal as the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Blockbuster matches are on the cards in the sixth round as the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) resumes after a break on Friday. In the top of the table clash, leaders Sharjah will look to extend their lead when they take on second-placed Al Nasr on home turf in a 9pm kick-off.
Sharjah cemented their position on top the league table after an impressive 2-0 victory against Al Jazira at Mohammad in Zayed Stadium in matchweek 7 of the Arabian Gulf League.
Sharjah’s hopes of returning to the winning ways got a boost as the coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari passed the fitness test and will be ready to lead the team against Al Nasr.
Ittihad Kalba coach Jorge Da Silva is relishing the prospect of booking their berth in the final of the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC) with a victory over Al Nasr and making history on Tuesday. In the other semi-final, Mahdi Ali’s Shabab Al Ahli will also look to
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