Al Ahli breathe easy with Kalba win but Sharjah hold back Al Jazira

Cosmin Olaroiu's side right their ship with a 2-0 victory over bottom side while Jazira stumble and Al Nasr ease to win.

A 2-0 victory over Kalba brought the smiles back for Al Ahli coach Cosmin Olaroiu. Sarah Dea / The National
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Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli restored a modicum of normalcy yesterday, ending their winless skid in league play with a 2-0 home victory over last-place Kalba.

Ahli had not won a league match since beating Al Jazira 4-2 at the Rashid Stadium on October 18, drawing the following two matches before losing 1-0 at home to Emirates and 2-1 at Al Nasr in the next two.

Kalba put up a brave resistance for much of the first half, only for Ahli defender Salmeen Khamis to break the deadlock just before half time.

Khamis’ glancing header from Habib Fardan’s free kick gave Cosmin Olaroiu’s side a 1-0 lead going into the break.

Basheer Saeed doubled the lead less than two minutes after the restart, scoring on a thumping, left-footed volley from a corner kick. Ahli had two late strikes ruled out for offside but still saw out the victory.

Ahli remained in seventh place in the league table after the victory, level on 16 points with city rivals Al Wasl.

Kalba slumped to their 10th defeat in 11 league matches, sitting bottom of the table with one point.

Elsewhere, Al Jazira missed a chance to go top of the league after losing 2-1 at home to Sharjah. Victory would have allowed Jazira to leap over Al Wahda, whose 20-match league unbeaten run came to an end at Al Ain, but Yousif Saeed and Wanderley struck to give the visitors victory.

Playing without top scorer Mirko Vucinic and playmaker Manuel Lanzini, Jazira’s attack – with Jonathan Pitroipa, Jucilei da Silva and Ali Mabkhout behind Ahmed Ghilani – produced little end product.

Substitute Ahmed Al Attas equalised for the hosts on 74 minutes, only for Wanderley to grab the winner four minutes later with his seventh league goal of the season.

The final minutes were marred by two red cards, with Jazira’s Khamis Esmail sent off for a second yellow card and Sharjah’s Shahin Abulrahman given a straight red. Sharjah rose to ninth place on 12 points, with Jazira sitting third on 21.

In the late match, Al Nasr strolled to a 3-0 home victory over Emirates.

Nasr moved level with Jazira on 21 points, one clear of fifth-place Al Ain, who have two matches in hand.

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