Al Jazira on the verge of Arabian Gulf League title after comfortable win over Al Shabab

Al Jazira moved on to the cusp of clinching the Arabian Gulf League title on Friday evening with a 3-0 victory over Al Shabab at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.

Al Jazira need one point from their last four matches or hope Al Ahli fail to win against Al Wahda on Saturday to be sure of winning the Arabian Gulf League title. Courtesy AGL
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Al Jazira moved on to the cusp of clinching the Arabian Gulf League title on Friday evening with a 3-0 victory over Al Shabab at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.

Heading into the match, Jazira required eight points from their remaining four fixtures to guarantee just their second UAE top flight title in the club’s history.

That is now down to one point from the final three games as two goals inside the opening nine minutes, first from Ali Mabkhout and then Fares Juma, and a second half own goal by Mahmood Qassim ensured a comfortable win for the club from the capital.

Indeed, with their lead temporarily at 11 points, Jazira could win the title on Saturday night if Al Ahli fail to take maximum points when they visit Al Wahda.

UAE striker Mabkhout opened the scoring after three minutes when he intercepted a poor back-pass from Shabab captain Mohammed Marzooq to goalkeeper Salem Abdulla. Mabkhout has now scored 28 league goals this season, seven clear of Al Wasl striker Fabio De Lima in second place.

Juma then headed home from a corner to double Jazira’s lead on nine minutes.

The third arrived courtesy of an own goal from Qassim when the Shabab defender deflected Mabkhout’s effort on 69 minutes for Jazira to complete the rout.

“We were fortunate to score two early goals and that put us on a good position for the rest of the game,” Jazira goalkeeper Ali Kasheif said.

“We need one point from the remaining three games and we certainly can’t lose our grip on the league from this point. It has been a great collective effort from the players and the technical staff.

“Shabab are a dangerous side. It was hard luck for them that they made a mistake from which we scored first. But this is football.

“I think we, as a team, controlled the game and left not much room for our opponents to take advantage at any time of the game.”

In Friday's other games, Sharjah moved to safety after a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Emirates.

Shaheen Abdulrahman put the host ahead on 55 minutes, Sebastian Sacha levelled the score eight minutes later before Gelmin Rivas regained Sharjah the lead on 77 minutes.

Baniyas salvaged a 1-1 draw at Kalba when substitute Jean-Philippe Mendy headed in a late equaliser after Salam Shaker had put the hosts ahead on 77 minutes.

Ten-man Hatta clinched a 1-0 home victory over Al Nasr. Hatta had Maher Al Balooshi sent off in the first half before Brazilian forward Samuel Rosa put them ahead at the hour-mark with an excellent solo effort.

Nasr best chance came when Tariq Ahmed saw his shot cannon off the bar. Hatta will hope to replicate the result when they meet Nasr again in the President Cup semi-finals on Thursday.

apassela@thenational.ae

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