Sharjah bounce back with Kalba romp - GulfToday

Sharjah bounce back with Kalba romp

Sharjah bounce back with Kalba romp

Sharjah and Kalba players in action during their Arabian Gulf League match on Sunday.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

A resurgent Sharjah staged a valiant comeback to end their four-game skid with an emphatic 3-1 victory against a hapless Ittihad Kalba in a 15th round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) at the Khaled Bin Mohammed Stadium on Sunday.

Ryan Mendes was in the thick of the action as he scored a goal and assisted one to give a resilient Sharjah a much-needed and  morale-boosting victory after four losses on a trot.

Mendes, Caio and Mohammed Khalfan were on the target for Sharjah as defending champions once again heated up the title race by moving to the second spot with 27 points, albeit, still trailing the leaders Shabab Al Ahli by nine points.

They are tied with Al Ain and Al Jazira, who also have 27 points each. Al Ain have one game in hand as their match against Kalba was postponed due the Asian Champions League (ACL) fixtures.

Despite having equal points in their kitty, Sharjah went to the second spot as they defeated both Al Ain and Al Jazira in the league matches earlier.

Meanwhile, it could have been a 4-1 if a goal by Caio would not have been disqualified when Mendes was caught offside in the 22nd minute.

However, Mendes made up for his mistake as he darted the ball into the net from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner to give Sharjah 1-0 lead just before the break. He was assisted by Mohammed Abdulbasit. He broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute to bring some respite to the Sharjah’s camp, who were looking desperate to end their win-less run and regain their lost form.

Ten minutes from the half-time, Caio chipped a shot from the centre of the box to bottom right corner of the goal to extend the lead to 2-0.

Osama Elshaal netted one for Kalba in the 77th minute to trim the lead to 2-1. He smashed an aerial shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. However, despite having a one–goal lead, Sharjah did not go into the defensive mode but kept on attacking till the end.

As a result of their attacking game plan, they added to their tally, when Khalfan hit the ball from the centre of the box to the top right corner off a pass from Mendes.

Earlier, Sharjah spurned quite a few chances to extend their lead. A Salem Sultan’s header missed an empty goalpost as the ball went too high and wide. Two minutes later, Mendes right footed a shot that was saved right in the centre of the goal by Kalba goalkeeper.

Sharjah, who were unbeaten till ninth round, have shown a drastic fall in form and lost four straight games after being held by Ajman in tenth round.

It was Al Dhafra, who handed defending champions their first defeat of the season, beating them 3-1. In the next game A Wahda piled more misery on Sharjah with a 2-1 victory.

Meanwhile, Lucas Pimenta’s goal made the difference as Al Wahda snatched a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Al Jazira, Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium.

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