Shabab Al Ahli crush Al Gharafa for first Asian Champions League victory

Dubai club run out 8-2 winners to boost hopes of advancing to the knockout stages

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Shabab Al Ahli claimed their first win in the Asian Champions League group stage in stunning style on Monday night, thrashing Al Gharafa of Qatar 8-2 at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium in Jeddah.

Having played out three draws in their first three games, the UAE Pro League club needed a win to ignite their hopes of advancing from Group C. They duly delivered. Shabab Al Ahli led 3-1 at half time thanks to a Thomas Olsen double either side of Ahmed Alaaeldin's equaliser, before Harib Abdalla restored their two-goal lead shortly before the interval.

Then came a three-goal blitz in the space of 16 minutes for Shabab Al Ahli as Azizjon Ganiev grabbed his first in the 50th minute and Federico Cartabia scored moments later to make it 5-1.

Sofiane Hanni pulled one back for Gharafa from the penalty spot in the 59th minute, but it did little to quell Shabab Al Ahli's momentum as the Dubai club scored three more times through Mohammad Juma, Abdelaziz Sanqour, and a second for Ganiev to complete an emphatic victory.

The result moves Shabab Al Ahli up to second in Group C on six points, one ahead of Gharafa and two behind leaders Foolad, whom they face in their final group game next Wednesday. Before that, Shabab Al Ahli take on the group's bottom side, Ahal, on Friday.

Earlier in the evening, Al Jazira were held to a goalless draw by Mumbai City FC in a Group B clash at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

Jazira collected their first points of the group stage by beating Mumbai City 1-0 in their first encounter last week but were unable to complete the double over the tournament debutants, and a share of the points does little for either team's hopes of advancing to the knockout stages.

With runaway group leaders Al Shabab defeating Air Force Club 3-0, Jazira move up to second in the group but as they trail the Saudi side by six points with two games remaining, will likely need to rely on being one of the three best runners-up to qualify for the knockout rounds.

Jazira next face Air Force Club on Friday before completing the group stage against Al Shabab next Wednesday.

Updated: April 19, 2022, 9:16 AM
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