Players of Bani Yas and Shabab Al Ahli vie for the ball during their Arabian Gulf League match on Friday.
Ahmed Khalil’s strike from the spot was the difference as Shabab Al Ahli defeated Bani Yas 1-0 at the Bani Yas Stadium in matchweek 17 of the Arabian Gulf League.
In another match Al Jazira fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat against Khorfakkan at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium.
Shabab Al Ahli got off to a quick start as they were awarded a penalty kick after John Tibar handled the ball inside the box. Veteran striker Ahmed Khalil sent the ball home from the spot to snatch the lead for the visitors in the ninth minute.
Bani Yas tried to respond, however, they failed to create any dangerous chances on Majed Nasser’s goal as the defenders maintained locked and organized defence.
In the 57th minute, Jose Roberto tried his luck from a long way out, but his right footed volleyed strike missed the target by a narrow margin.
Ten minutes later, Mohammed Rashid Al Hammadi snatched the ball in the midfield and dribbled brilliantly past Khorfakkan’s midfield, but the substitute’s long range effort went just wide.
Around the 75-minute mark, Khalil nearly doubled his tally. The number 11 received the ball after a clever feint from Federico Cartabia, but his powerful drilled shot cannoned off the post.
The win cemented Shabab Al Ahli’s position on top of the league table with 39 points ahead of their anticipated derby against Al Nasr. On the other hand, Bani yas sit ninth with just 20 points band will face Khorfakkan in matchweek 18 of the league.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi started on the front foot, when Thulani Serero’s strike from the edge of the box was denied by Mohammed Yousef to reach Keno, whose effort from the rebound was cleared off the goalline by Ahmed Eisa in the 17th minute.
Against the run of play, Khorfakkan broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. Ramon Lopes released Antonio Junior up the left flank and the latter’s ground cross was met by Ricardo Mendes, who drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
The Green Eagles continued to impress in the second half, when they nearly doubled the scoreline through Dodo, who received a defence-splitting long through pass behind Al Jazira’s backline and advanced towards the box, but his shot went well over the crossbar in the 70th minute.
In the dying moments of the game, Al Jazira nearly leveled things up through friendly fire, however, Eisa’s poor clearance was denied by the woodwork.
Following the defeat, Al Jazira occupy the fourth spot with 30 points before facing Kalba next week.
Meanwhile, Khorfakkan remain rock bottom at the league table with 12 points ahead of their encounter against Bani Yas in next rounds.
Earlier, Ryan Mendes found the net twice as Sharjah defeated Al Wasl 2-1, at Sharjah Stadium on Thursday.
Sharjah started on the front foot as they were awarded a penalty kick in the 14th minute after Luan Pereira was brought down inside the box by Lucas Galvao.
Ryan Mendes sent the ball home from the spot to make it 1-0.
The Frenchman continued to impress as he doubled his tally just two minutes later. Al Hassan Saleh went the left flank and sent an accurate cross towards Mendes, who controlled the ball calmly before finishing into the back of the net.
Al Wasl failed to make an impact as most of the gameplay was in the midfield until the referee blew the halftime whistle.
In the second half, things got even worse for the Cheetahs, as they went down to 10 men after Ali Saleh was shown a direct red card for his careless tackle on Majed Surour in the 72nd minute.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Al Wasl managed to reduce the deficit in the 84th minute through super sub Waleed Al Hammadi. The youngster converted Fernando Gaibor’s pass into the top corner from a close range, to make it 2-1.
After the win, Sharjah jumped to the third spot with 31 points and will host Hatta next week. On the other hand, Al Wasl sit eighth with 23 points ahead of their encounter against Al Dhafra in matchweek 18.