Abu Dhabi: Al Ahli stormed back into second spot in the Etisalat Pro League with a confident 4-1 win over Bani Yas at the Bani Yas Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Ismael Al Hammadi headed home Al Ahli’s 50th goal of the season and Grafite scored the 24th of his personal tally, with Adnan Al Beloshi and Majed Hassan also getting on the scoresheet in a dominant attacking display from Quique Flores’ side.
Al Ahli now have 42 points at the conclusion of Round 22, whilst Bani Yas remain on 41 points and drop a place to 3rd after the heavy home defeat.
The visitors managed to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute as Beloshi chipped a perfect cross in from the right, which Emirati attacker Ismael Al Hammadi rose to head in at the back post to make it 1-0.
Brazilian striker Grafite timed his run perfectly after being released by Amir Mubarak, slotting the ball under Bani Yas goalkeeper Mohsin Al Hashmi’s body to make it 2-0 in the 45th minute.
Four minutes later, however, normal service from the first half was resumed, as Al Ahli cruised into a 3-0 lead with relative ease.
Grafite turned provider as he squared the ball from the left for Beloshi to tap home from close range in the 54th minute, with Bani Yas struggling for composure at the back.
Al Ahli continued to threaten and in the 70th minute the scoreline became academic as Majed Hassan put the visiting team 4-0 up, converting from close range after Bani Yas failed to clear their lines and Grafite miscued his attempted back-heel. In the 78th minute Bani Yas notched a consolation goal as Mubarak’s free kick evaded the loosely-assembled Al Ahli wall.
Meanwhile, Al Shaab came from behind when they were one goal down to outclass their rivals Ajman 2-1 in the Etisalat Pro League round 21 game played at Khaled Bin Mohamed Stadium in Sharjah on Monday.
Boris Kabi put the losers 1-0 up before the break but Michael Laurent replied with a brace to help his team snatch three valuable points taking their tally to 17 points in 12th position, five points behind Ajman and three ahead of second from the bottom Dibba Al Fujairah.
Ajman capitalised on the series of blunders committed by Al Shaab’s defenders to put their rivals under pressure.
The two sides exerted more efforts afterwards and continued their attacks but their strikers were guilty after squandering all the sitters that came their way.
The 60th minute saw Al Shaab leveling the scores through Michael Laurent, who launched a strong shot from inside the box to make it 1-1. Inspired by this goal, Al Shaab’s enthusiastic players took control of the game trying to score the winner and snatch full points.
In the 68th minute, Hassan Maatouk sent a through pass to Michael Laurent who cut his way straight ahead to beat the goalkeeper scoring the winner.
Al Shaab tightened their grip on the game up to the final whistle to snatch three valuable points that would boost their morals in the forthcoming matches.