Players of Ajman and Al Dhafra in action during their Arabian Gulf League match on Friday.
Al Wahda returned to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Hatta at Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in matchweek 14 of the Arabian Gulf League, which is held under the slogan ‘Together We Recover’ in support of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts.
The first chance of the game came in the 5th minute, when a long range effort fell into Al Wahda’s box, but was intercepted by keeper Mohamed Alshamsi before Ahmed Malallah could get hold of it.
It was Al Wahda who found the back of the net in the 12th minute. Paul Jose Mpoku launched a counterattack before finding Myung Joo Lee inside the box and the latter tapped home to hand his side 1-0 lead.
The guests doubled their lead 12 minutes later, thanks to Omar Khribin, who headed the ball home off a corner kick to get his name on the scoresheet on his debut with the Clarets.
Habib Yousuf netted a similar goal on the other side of the field, pulling one down for the hosts just after the half-hour mark.
The guests, however, managed to restore their two-goal lead. Khribin turned from scorer to provider as his through pass found Tim Matavz who sent the ball past Hatta keeper Ahmed Mahmoud.
Khribin completed his brace 20 minutes from time, as he scored an audacious Panenka penalty to make it 4-1 and put the win beyond any doubt.
Al Wahda raised their tally to 22 points after collecting their sixth win of the season. Meanwhile, Hatta remain winless and continue to linger at the bottom of the standings on two points.
Ajman win: In the other match of the day, Ajamn came from behind to defeat Al Dhafra 2-1 at Rashid Bin Saeed Stadium.
Al Dhafra needed only 8 minutes to break the deadlock, as Pedro Conde capitalised on a defensive mistake to tap the ball past Ajman keeper Ali Al Hosani.
Al Dhafra came close to doubling their lead just after the 20-minute mark when Suhail Al Mansoori’s left-footed effort from outside the box went above the bar.
The second half was a different story, as the Oranges levelled the scoreline only six minutes after the restart. Substitute Husain Abdulrahman headed the ball home off Mohamed Ismail’s cross from the right side. Ajman continued to push forward in search of a second goal and they eventually found the back of the net, when Modibo Maiga fired the ball over keeper Zayed Al Hammadi to hand his side a 2-1 advantage.
Al Hammadi was called into action 10 minutes from time as he denied Bubacarr Trawally’s close range effort.
Ajman earned their second win in a row to raise their tally to nine points. On the other hand, Al Dhafra succumbed to their sixth defeat of the season as they remain with 16 points.
The action resumes on Saturday with four games, which will see Khorfakkan welcome Al Ain, Shabab Al Ahli face Ittihad Kalba, Bani Yas clash with Al Wasl and defending champion Sharjah play against Fujairah.
The ‘Together We Recover’ slogan comes in support of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts, as it urges members of the society to get immunized through vaccination, while adhering to social responsibility, ensuring public safety and supporting the great national efforts to protect the health of society members.
Meanwhile, the UAE Pro League announced the dates of the Arabian Gulf Cup semi-final matches, as the first leg will be held on Feb.9, with Al Nasr welcoming Ittihad Kalba at 5:30 pm and Al Wasl facing Shabab Al Ahli at 8:15 pm.
The second leg of the semi-final clashes will take place on March 2, as Kalba host Al Nasr at 5:30 pm and Shabab Al Ahli take on Al Wasl at 8:15 pm.
The UAE Pro League also decided to change the dates of matchweek 19 of the Arabian Gulf League. It was scheduled to be played on March 5 and 6, but will now be held on 6 and 7 March, in order to allow Arabian Gulf Cup semi-finalists sufficient time to recover between matchweeks 18 and 19.