Al Jazira, Shabab Al Ahli share spoils; Al Dhafra edge past Al Nasr - GulfToday

Al Jazira, Shabab Al Ahli share spoils; Al Dhafra edge past Al Nasr

Al Jazira, Shabab Al Ahli share   spoils; Al Dhafra edge past Al Nasr

Players of Al Dhafra celebrate after their victory over Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League match on Thursday.

Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli dropped first points of the season after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Al Jazira in matchweek 3 of the Arabian Gulf League at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi had the upper hand in the early stages of the game and posed some danger in and around Shabab Al Ahli’s box.

However, soon after, it was Shabab Al Ahli who were creating goalscoring chances. Halfway through the first half, Federico Cartabia sent a dangerous cross inside the box but was intercepted by Al Jazira keeper Ali Khasif.

Shabab Al Ahli came close to getting the lead few minutes later, but they were denied again by outrushing Khasif who diverted the ball into a corner.

Seven minutes away from the break, a risky short pass from Khasif saw the ball reach Henrique Luvannor but the danger was cleared by Serbian defender Miloš Kosanovic.

The hosts lost the services of Brazilian forward Keno for injury few minutes before the break as he made way fro Zayed Al Ameri.

Deep into injury time, another wrong pass from Khasif saw the ball fall to Shabab Al Ahli, but the guests failed to capitalize on it as Hassan Ibrahim’s strike from outside the box lacked the accuracy.

Just after the restart, Mourad Batna wasted a golden chance to give his side the lead early in the second half. The Moroccan forward failed to properly finish a perfect cross into the back of the net as his shot went wide.

Khasif pulled off a great save two minutes past the one-hour mark as he tipped Cartabia’s shot over the bar into a corner.

Ali Mabkhout came close to opening the scoring for the Pride of Abu Dhabi as his free kick looked like a certain goal, but it bounced off the woodwork.

Shabab Al Ahli temporarily remain on top of the table on seven points off two wins and a draw, while Sharjah remain fourth on four points from a win, a draw and a defeat.

Elsewhere, Al Nasr suffered their second loss of the season as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Al Dhafra at Al Maktoum Stadium.

Al Dhafra had the upper hand since the early stages of the game and needed only three minutes to take the lead. Mikhail Rosheuvel received the ball up the right flank but his low strike hit the post to reach Mohamed Saif, who cut from the left side and placed the ball into the bottom corner.

The guests doubled their lead in the 24th minute, as Khalid Bawazir found Rosheuvel in space with a brilliant long through pass. The Dutch finished the ball into the back of Ahmed Shambih’s net with a clever lobbed shot following a skillful solo effort.

The second half was no difference as Al Dhafra picked up where they left off, nearly scoring their third seven minutes after the restart. However, Joao Pedro’s long range right-footed screamer cannoned off the crossbar to deny the Brazilian from scoring his second league goal.

Around the 70-minute mark, Al Nasr came close to finding the back of the net through Brandley Kuwas. The 27-year-old forward received a well-placed through pass behind Al Dhafra’s defence, but his right-footed effort was handled by Khaled Al Senaani.

The Blues reduced the deficit eight minutes before the final whistle, when Alvaro Negredo squared a perfectly-weighted pass towards Antonio Jose, whose accurate first time effort nestled into the back of the net.

The visitors were forced to continue the remaining minutes with 10 men after Abdulrahman Yousuf was sent off for picking up a second yellow card in the 88th minute.

After getting their first win of the season, Al Dhafra move to sixth spot on four points, while Al Nasr extended their poor run as they sit 13th with one point.

Meanwhile, under the directives of Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, First Vice President of Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club, First Vice President of the Honorary Council and Chairman of the Board of Directors, the club awarded honorary memberships to Hazza Al Mansoori and Rafiq Darbah Sultan Al Neyadi - the first two Emirati astronauts - for being national role models.

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