Shabab Al Ahli players celebrate with their trophy.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Shabab Al Ahli were crowned Arabian Gulf Super Cup champions for the fifth time in their history after defeating Sharjah 1-0 thanks to Mohammed Marzooq’s last-minute goal at Al Maktoum Stadium on Friday night.
The match, which was held under the slogan of “Our Winter is Super” in support of “World’s Coolest Winter” initiative, saw the participation of the King on the back of being the Arabian Gulf League titleholders and Shabab Al Ahli as UAE President's Cup champions.
The first real chance of the game fell to Shabab Al Ahli striker Igor Jesus, after he received a cross inside the box, but his close-range effort went wide only two minutes into the game.
Sharjah then controlled possession for few minutes yet failed to pose real threat on Shabab Al Ahli goal. It was the Dubai-based side who wasted a valuable opportunity to earn an early lead, after Federico Cartabia’s free-kick from the edge of the box went over the bar in the 11th minute.
As the first half progressed, Shabab Al Ahli continued to push for an opening goal, as they saw Abdulaziz Sanqour force Sharjah keeper Adel Al Hosani into a save on the 20-minute mark. Carlos Eduardo then missed another chance to break the deadlock in the 37th minute with a poor effort from the edge of the box.
Against the run of play, Sharjah nearly grabbed the lead five minutes from halftime, as Welliton Soares pounced on a poor clearance from Shabab Al Ahli keeper Majed Naser but failed to convert it into the back of the net, as they headed for halftime levelled at 0-0.
The early minutes of the second half saw Al Hosani deny Shabab Al Ahli from taking the lead and Shabab Al Ahli defence block two successive attempts from Sharjah. Both teams looked cautious afterwards, as most of the play was limited to midfield with few chances created on both sides in the next 20 minutes.
With 20 minutes to go, Yahya Al Ghassani failed to put his foot through the ball following an impressive individual effort from Carlos Eduardo.
After reviewing the VAR, referee Hamad Ali turned down a penalty appeal for Shabab Al Ahli in the 86th minute. Walid Abbas nearly won it for Shabab Al Ahli in injury time with a powerful effort from inside the box, but his strike went over the bar.
Just when things seemed to be headed into a penalty shootout, substitute Mohamed Marzooq sent home an inch-perfect header that left Al Hosani helpless and handed Shabab Al Ahli the Arabian Gulf Super Cup title.
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