Shabab Al Ahli stretch lead at top with Al Ain win - GulfToday

Shabab Al Ahli stretch lead at top with Al Ain win


Players of Shabab Al Ahli and Al Ain in action during their Arabian Gulf League match on Thursday.

Shabab Al Ahli completed a second half comeback as they defeated Al Ain 2-1 in an entertaining match of the week at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in matchweek 12 of the Arabian Gulf League on Thursday.

The Knights were first to threaten just six minutes into the game, when Bandar Al Ahbabi sent a crossed corner kick inside the box, however, Mohannad Salem failed to convert from a close range as his effort went well over the bar.

Both teams failed to create further chances until five minutes ahead of halftime when Ahmed Khalil tried his luck from the edge of the box, but his right footed curler missed the target by a narrow margin.

The Boss started the second half with a bang breaking the deadlock in the 50th minute through Tsukasa Shiotani. The Japanese intercepted the ball from Eid Khamis and advanced towards the box, before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.

Ten minutes later, Shiotani turned from hero to villain as he gave away a penalty kick after his poor challenge against Ismael Al Hammadi. Khalil scored from the spot with a brilliant Panenka to level things up.

The visitors completed their comeback in the 80th minute, when Khalil released Harib Suhail behind Al Ain’s backline with a defence splitting through pass. The super sub finished calmly past Khalid Eisa to snatch the victory for the visitors.

Following the win, Shabab Al Ahli cemented their position on top of the league table with 29 points ahead of their anticipated encounter against Sharjah.

Al Ain sit on fifth spot with 21 points before facing Khorfakkan in next round of the Arabian Gulf League.

Defending champions Sharjah are on second spot with 24 points after losing their match against Al Wahda. This was the second consecutive defeat for Sharjah. Al Wahda jumped to the seventh spot with 17 points.

Al Nasr, who came back from behind to defeat Al Jazira 2-1 at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday, are occupying third place with 23 points. The Blues will host Bani Yas in matchweek 13 of the league.

In another match, Ajman and Fujairah played a 1-1 draw at the Fujairah Stadium.

Meanwhile, the UAE team left for Bangkok on Friday to take part in the AFC U-23 Championship.

The fourth edition of the championship will be played across three cities — Bangkok, Buriram and Songkhla — with the tournament kicking off on Jan.8, and the final to be played on Jan.26.

Besides continental glory, 15 of the 16 teams will also be competing for places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the top three sides will join hosts Japan as Asia’s representatives next July.

UAE are in Group D along with Vietnam, North Korea and Jordan. They will start their campaign against North Korea on the Jan.10.

Head coach of Olympic National Team Maciej Skorza named squad for the tournament three days ago.

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