Khorfakkan and Bani Yas players in action during their Arabian Gulf League match on Thursday.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Luanzinho scored a late equalizer as Sharjah rallied to hold Hatta 1-1 in their 18th round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Thursday.
However, Hatta extended their unbeaten run against their much-fancied rivals to seven games. Hatta have not been beaten by Sharjah in their last seven games across all the tournaments since 2018 winning three and drawing four matches.
Neliton broke the deadlock in the 25th minute to give Hatta a vital 1-0 lead. He smashed a left-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner of the goal post off an assist by Lahej Saleh. Four minutes later, he again attacked with another superb shot from the corner of the box but it was saved by Sharjah’s goalkeeper.
Sharjah also tried hard and kept attacking through Igor Colorado and Caio in a bid to restore parity. They came closest to scoring in the 32nd minute, when Coronado right footed a shot from outside the box, which was brilliantly saved by the Hatta’ goalkeeper. Maher Jasim of Hatta was given a red card for a dangerous tackle in the 77th minute. After the match, Sharjah remained in the third spot with 32 points while Hatta are still in the drop zone, sitting at 13th spot with 13 points from 18 games.
In the other matches on Thursday, Kodjo Laba scored and assisted as Al Ain defeated Fujairah 2-1 and Khorfakkan extended their unbeaten run with a win 2-1 over Bani Yas.
Ernest Asante was on target for Fujairah, who fired into the back of the net to make it 1-0 in the third minute. Jamal Maroof and Laba scored a goal each in Al Ain’s win.
Meanwhile, Al Nasr’s croatian coach Krunoslav Jurcic stressed the importance of the match against Shabba Al Ahli on Friday.
He said it is a derby and both the two teams have been busy playing back-to-back matches in a very short period of time.
Jurcic said: “The two teams are well acquainted with each other’s capabilities, having met in four matches this season across all the competitions. We have prepared well for the fifth match that we seek to win and take three points.”
Jurcic added: “With the exception of Chilean Esteban Pavis, who will be absent from the match due to the accumulation of yellow cards, all players are fully prepared to play the game and will give their best in order to lead the team to victory.”
Jurcic concluded his speech by saying: “I assure you once again that the preparation time was very important for the team, as it helped us to adjust to the conditions and sharpen the players’ skills.
Al Nasr defeated Al Wahda 3-0 to move to the seventh spot with 27 points. Jassem Yaqoub said: “This is going to be a strong match. It will definitely be difficult game for both teams. Our goal is to win, so we will do our best and we will give everything we have in the game to take away all three points.”
In another game, Ittihad Kalba will take on Al Jazira at the Kalba Union Sports & Cultural Club. Kalba are in the drop zone and struggling to remain afloat in the top flight.
Kalba coach Jorge Dasilva said: “The preparations were good throughout the week. It is a great positive atmosphere among the players after the last victory, which was eluding us for a long time.”
Kalba defeated Fujairah 1-0 in the last match to move to the 11th spot in the 14-team league. They have 16 points from 17 games and trailing Ajman, who are tenth, by two points.
“The team went into defending mode in the second half voluntarily in the last game because the players wanted to win and stop the series of defeats.
Al Jazira defeated Hatta 2-0 while Shabab Al Ahli trounced Al Wahda 4-0 in matchweek 8 of the Arabian Gulf League on Wednesday. Earlier, Bani Yas holds Sharjah
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