Dubai: Baniyas lost the opportunity to climb to the top of the Arab Gulf League standings after a 0-0 draw with fifth-placed Shabab Al-Ahly in an exciting match at home on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
Al Jazira kept their grip on top, but missed an opportunity to withdraw after their 3-3 draw with Ajman. Al Jazeera is just one point ahead, with two League matches remaining.
In Baniyas, the hosts were the strongest of the two units and camped in Half Shabab from the start. In fact, Baniyas could have advanced from a corner kick, but Gaston Suarez couldn’t help but see his lateral shot, which Hassan Hamza Ali’s youth goalkeeper had saved on the goal line. It was Baniyas’s best chance in the first half, but there was more.
Most notably, Sultan Al Shamsi tried to beat Ali from a distance of 30 yards with the goal of just sailing over the crossbar of Shabab Al Ahly minutes before the end of the first half. This was also not the last noticeable act in the first period, with Al-Ahly’s youth approaching as well. However, the decision to fight Abdullah Suhail wrongly by passing a pass across the face of goal instead of going to glory denied them the privilege of the lead. Attempting Suhail alone would have been the best option as a pass was comfortably intercepted by Bani Yas goalkeeper Fahad Al-Dhanhani.
Shabab Al-Ahly ran stronger in the second half and Yuri Cesar was supposed to do a better job of shooting from just eight yards with the Al-Nahhani goalkeeper to defeat him after he brilliantly made his way into the penalty area on the left.
Ten minutes later, in the 74th minute, the Brazilian was guilty of sending another shot from a promising position away from goal after being given a chance at the top of the penalty area.
On the other hand, in the late matches, the Ahdaf Festival kicked off in Ajman, where Al Jazira squandered the opportunity to beat Bani Yas by four points. The match ended with a score of 3-3 with a penalty kick by Ali Mabkhout in the 77th minute, saving the visitors’ embarrassment. Emoh Ezekiel put Al-Jazira ahead in nine minutes, but Modibo Maiga equalized in the 26th minute, with the Abu Dhabi team leading for the second time through Brandley Kwas, only to fall behind in the second minute for Migu. Luiz Antonio’s penalty kick in the 64th minute put Ajman ahead for the first time, but another at the other end saw Mabkhout score to help Al Jazeera leave with a share of the spoils.
Al Jazira tops the leaderboard with 51 points, one point ahead of Baniyas, while Sharjah ranks third, five more points behind after last night, after its 3-0 victory over Hatta Al Mttail at home. Second-half goals from Salem Saleh, Khaled Bawazir and Juninho secured Sharjah victory.
With only two rounds of competition remaining, Hatta, with only nine points so far, is virtually doomed to relegation, while Ajman’s draw with Al Jazira helped them break out of the two-team relegation zone. With 15 points, they only beat Fujairah by one point, who have a game in hand.
In previous matches, at Al-Nassr Stadium, Sebastian Tagliabue helped in the 90th minute from the penalty spot for the home side to beat Al Dhafra 3-2 in an intense match that saw the visiting team knock out two goals by two goals from Antonio Jose de Carvalho. Makhiti Diop and Mohammed Al Junaibi scored a goal each in five minutes to equal Al Dhafra level. Al Dhafra ended the match with ten players, although after Essam Al Adwa was sent off, the ball touched him on the goal line, which resulted in the winning penalty kick by Tagliabue.
Khorfakkan surprised Al Wasl 2-1 at Zabeel Stadium to officially secure his place in the Arabian Gulf League next season. Dudu and Ismail Al Hammadi scored in the first 30 minutes to put Khorfakkan ahead with two goals from Kwame Otun to reduce the margin of defeat for Al Wasl.
Al Ain failed to maintain their 1-0 lead at Ittihad Kalba Stadium, as Kodjo Laba’s goal was nullified in the 18th minute by a successful penalty kick by Benel Malaba in the 31st minute which led to a 1-1 draw.