Al Ahli’s slim hopes of closing the gap on leaders Al Jazira grew even slimmer on Thursday night after they were held to a scoreless draw by Al Wasl at Rashid Stadium.
With four games left in the season Ahli are on 48, eight points behind the leaders.
And Al Ain (46) and Wasl (45) are breathing down their neck.
Unlike the early game between Al Ain and Al Dhafra, in which fans were treated to goals galore in a 5-2 result, few scoring opportunities were created in the late game.
There were a couple of shots from set pieces that tested the goalkeepers on either side in the first half, and Majed Naser, the Ahli keeper, made an excellent save by pushing out a stinging shot from Caio Canedo in the second minute after the restart.
Naser also did well to block a low free kick from Ronaldo Mendes.
Humaid Abdulla, the Wasl keeper, did even better to punch away a fierce shot from Ahli striker Ahmed Khalil from another free kick, both in the first half.
The frustrating result comes as Ahli turn their attention to travelling to Saudi Arabia for their Asian Champions League (ACL) meeting with Al Taawoun on Tuesday.
In the early match, Al Ain warmed up for next week’s meeting with Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the ACL with a 5-2 rout of Al Dhafra at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium to keep them in the race for a top two position in the AGL.
Nasser Al Shamrani opened the scoring with a deft shot from a tight angle on 12 minutes.
But the visitors levelled six minutes later from a Yassine Salhi penalty awarded against Mohammed Abdulrahman for felling Khalid Al Hajri.
Ahmed Barman regained the lead for the home side with a with a low drive from the edge of the box, and Al Shamrani extended it with his second of the match for a 3-1 lead at half time.
Al Ain then struck twice in the second half.
Diaky Ibrahim, who came on as a second-half substitute for captain Omar Abdulrahman, volleyed home a Khalid Abdulrahman cross before another substitute, Yousef Ahmed, scored from a counter attack.
Hamad Al Ahbabi scored a second consolation goal for the visitors four minutes from time.
“It was a very satisfying result, a result we want for our confidence before an Asian Champions League game,” said Al Shamrani, the Saudi Arabia international on loan from Al Hilal.
“We started well and had a good first half.
“The coach decided to take me out with two other key players [Abdulrahman and Barman] in the second half with the next game in mind.”
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