Al Ain and Bani Yas players in action during their Adnoc Pro League match on Saturday.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Al Ain refused to let go of the standings' top spot as they beat their hosts Bani Yas 1-0 in the third match-week of the Adnoc Pro League on Saturday.
The game's only goal was scored early in the 11th minute by Laba Kodjo who bagged his fourth goal in three games this season.
Kodjo netted with a header taking advantage of a precisely-executed cross from Soufiane Rahimi who made his debut in Al Ain's colors.
Following the goal, several attempts were made by both sides, as Bani Yas tried to equalize and Al Ain wanted to double their but neither of them were able to find the back of the net.
With this victory, Al Ain managed to claim three consecutive wins for the first time since 2018-2019 season, in addition, they have overcome Baniyas away from home for the first time since 2014.
Al Ain are currently leading the standings with 9 points while "wounded" Bani Yas have only earned a point out of three games.
Meanwhile, underdogs Al Orooba managed to get away with a point against Shabab Al Ahli as the game ended in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Shabab Al Ahli have had the majority of the possession throughout the game, but it wasn’t until the 21st minute that Shabab had their first real chance when a wonderful cross from Eduardo was floated into the box for Igor Jesus who headed the ball straight at the goalkeeper.
Not long after that Ahmed Noorollah the Iranian hit the crossbar with a powerful shot. Finally, the goal Shabab Al Ahli deserved came in the 28th minute when Mohammed Juma hit a ferocious shot that hit the left-hand goal post and the rebound again fell to Eduardo who was in the right place at the right time to net his first goal of the season.
Al Orooba had their fair share of chances after conceding the goal but failed to put the ball into the back of the net. Nevertheless, their persistence finally paid off with their first goal of the season in the 39th minute with a wonderful bit of play on the right flank between the 3 strikers of the team.
Ali Madan received the ball on the right-wing, ran into space and played a lovely ball to Kingsley who powerfully headed it towards the goal but it hit the defender and the rebound fell to Ahmed Moosa who and rifled the ball into the back of the net.
In the 2nd half, it was all Shabab Al Ahli who had the majority of possession and were constantly attacking the Al Orooba goal but failed score.
Mehdi hit the crossbar; Igor shot over the crossbar; Shabab Al Ahli had 2 shouts for penalty but eventually they were forced to a 1-1 draw.
Al Orooba were rewarded for the solid defending with their first point of the season while Shabab Al Ahly reached their 7th point and currently lie in the third place of the table.
Earlier Sharjah defeated Al Wasl 3-2 at the much-anticipated derby on Friday. This local derby did not disappoint with lots of goals, chances, feisty, entertaining and a dramatic end that will be talked about for years to come.
It all started in the 10th minute when a penalty was awarded to Al Wasl for a foul in the box on Fabio Lima by Al Hassan Saleh who was then given a yellow but after reviewing VAR the referee Hamad Ali Yousef gave a red card to the defender for a professional foul.
Sharjah then had to continue the game with 10 men for 80 minutes of the game.
Fabio Lima stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake when he struck the ball fiercely down the middle of the goal for his 1st goal of the season.
The next chance came in the 30-minute for Al Wasl after an immense amount of pressure; Ramiro Benetti picked up the ball in midfield and found William Pottker between the 2 central defenders but he pulled his shot wide disappointingly.
Sharjah player Khalid Bawazir receives a yellow card in the 43-minute for a challenge on Ali Salah then in the 46-minute Caio receives a yellow card for simulation in the box; Sharjah have now had 3 yellow cards and 1 red in the first 45 minutes of the game.
In the 59-minute Al Wasl doubled their lead with a lovely run by Fabio Lima on the right side of the pitch who after receiving the ball from Ali Hassan Salmin played in a low cross in the 6-yard box for William Pottker but the ball was bundled into the net by the defender Abdullah Ghanim for an own goal.
On the 67th minute Sharjah were awarded a penalty after the referee reviewed the monitor as Al Wasl defender Abdulla Rahman Saleh committed a foul in the box on Luan Pereira. Caio Lucas stepped up and calmly scored the penalty sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
The Togolese substitute Ben Malango made an immediate impact when he scored a terrific goal on the 70-minute to level the scoreline after some fantastic interplay and a lovely backheel and assist from the other substitute Luan Pereira.
In the 94-minute Sharjah pulled of a miracle win that will go down in history after Bernard made a fantastic run in the midfield and played the ball to Ben Malango who after losing the ball regained it and struck a fiery shot from outside the box into the bottom corner of the net.
Sharjah have claimed their third consecutive win this season flying to the top of the standings while Al Wasl’s point tally remains four points out of three games.
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