Dubai: Bani Yas lost the chance to take the top spot in the Arab Gulf League after being held in a goalless draw by fifth-placed Shabab Al Ahli in an exciting home game on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
Al Jazeera retained their hold at the top but also missed the opportunity to break free after being held 3-3 against relegation fighters Ajman. Jazeera led by one point, with two league rounds to go.
In Bani Yas, the hosts were the stronger of the two units and camped in the Shabab half from the start. In fact, Bani Yas could have taken the lead from a corner, but Gaston Suarez could only watch as his lateral effort was blocked by Shabab goalkeeper Hassan Hamza Ali on his goal line. It was Bani Yas’ best chance of the first half, but there was more.
Most important was Sultan Al Shamsi’s attempt to beat Ali from 30 meters with an effort that only passed over Shabab Al Ahli’s crossbar a few minutes before halftime. It wasn’t the last notable action to show for the first half either, with Shabab Al Ahli coming closer as well. However, Harib Abdalla Suhail’s mistaken decision to throw a pass in the face of goal instead of aiming for glory denied them the header privilege. Suhail attempting alone would have been the best option as his pass was comfortably intercepted by Bani Yas goalkeeper Fahad Al Dhanhani.
Shabab Al Ahli came out stronger in the second half and Yuri Cesar should have done better than shooting eight yards wide with just goalkeeper Al Dhanhani to beat after skillfully making his way into the left area.
Ten minutes later, in the 74th, the Brazilian was guilty of sending another strike from a promising wide position after being offered an opportunity at the top of the box.
Elsewhere in the last few games, a goal came firmly in Ajman where Al Jazeera lost the opportunity to take a four point lead over Bani Yas. The match ended 3-3 with a 77th-minute penalty from Ali Mabkhout saving the visitors from the blushes. Imoh Ezekiel put Al Jazeera in the lead at nine minutes, but Modibo Maiga equalized at 26, with the Abu Dhabi side taking the lead for the second time by Brandley Kuwas, only to be caught by Maigo second on the night. Luiz Antonio’s 64th-minute penalty strike took Ajman in the lead for the first time, but another on the other end saw Mabkhout score to help Jazeera off with a share of the booty.
Jazira leads the table with 51 points, one more than Bani Yas, while Sharjah is third, five more behind after last night after their 3-0 dismantling of Hatta at home. Second-half goals from Salem Saleh, Khalid Bawazir and Juninho helped Sharjah win.
With just two competitive rounds to go, Hatta, with just nine points so far, is all but doomed to relegation, while Ajman’s draw with Jazeera helped them out of the two-team relegation zone. . With 15 points, they are just a clear cut over Al Fujairah, who has a game going.
In previous matches at Al Nasr, Sebastian Tagliabue’s 90th-minute penalty helped the hosts move past Al Dhafra 3-2 in an intense affair which saw the visitors erase a two-goal deficit caused by Antonio’s brace. Jose de Carvalho. Makhete Diop and Mohammed Al Jneibi scored once each in five minutes to bring Al Dhafra to the level. Al Dhafra would finish the match with 10 men after Issam El Adoua was sent off for handling the ball on the goal line, which led to the penalty scored by Tagliabue.
Khorfakkan surprised Al Wasl 2-1 at Zabeel Stadium to officially secure his place in the Arab Gulf League next season. Dodo and Ismail Al Hamadi scored in the opening 30 minutes to put Khorfakkan two ahead, with a goal against his own side of Kouame Autonne reducing the defeat margin for Al Wasl.
Al Ain failed to keep a 1-0 lead over Ittihad Kalba as Kodjo Laba’s 18th minute strike was undone by Peniel Mlapa’s successful conversion in the 31st which led to a 1-1 draw. .