Al Wahda’s Amer Omar is the right man at the right time for the UAE

Ahmed Rizvi looks at four of the key talking points ahead of this week’s action in the Arabian Gulf League.

Omar in Asian Cup contention

It might not have been their best performance of the season, but Al Wahda still managed to down a doughty Al Dhafra and stay ahead of the chasing pack. Once again, Amer Omar featured on the goalscorer’s list.

The 23-year-old midfielder has scored six goals in the Arabian Gulf League this season, the most by an Emirati, with Ali Mabkhout second on five. In fact, only Al Jazira’s Mirko Vucinic (15) has scored more times and six people share the second spot with six goals.

Most of Omar’s goals have come at crucial times for the team – an injury-time winner at Emirates, a 48th-minute equaliser at Baniyas, an 86th-minute winner at Al Shabab, the 84th-minute equaliser against Al Wasl and the lone goal against Fujairah.

Omar was unlucky not to get into the final UAE squad for the Gulf Cup, but these performances should earn him a trip to Australia for the Asian Cup.

Radoi on his way out?

Al Ahli’s league title defence seems to be in tatters. Five days after being stunned 1-0 at home by Emirates, they have suffered another defeat, losing 2-1 at Al Nasr after Ahmed Khalil had given them the lead. They are seventh in the standings with 13 points from 10 matches. At the same stage last season, they had 23 points.

Mirel Radoi, who was booed off the pitch by the home fans in the loss to Emirates, did not even feature on the bench against Nasr and if media reports in his home country are to be believed, he might have played his last match for the defending champions.

According to Romanian media outlets, Radoi has asked to leave in the January transfer window and has refused to take part in any further matches. Officials at the club, however, declined to comment on the reports.

Fujairah’s surprise

Last week, playing at home, Fujairah were drubbed 7-0 by Baniyas, which represented the biggest defeat in the seven seasons since the league turned professional in 2008.

This week, they travelled to Sharjah and returned home with three points following a 2-0 win.

It was an impressive turnaround by Fujairah and two-goal hero Boubacar Sanogo said the loss to Baniyas served as a “wake-up call” for everyone.

Sharjah probably need a similar call, especially at home. They have only four points from five matches at home, with three defeats, and Paulo Bonamigo’s men desperately need to improve on those performances if they hope to avoid the relegation battles toward the end of the season.

Kalba’s struggles

As the pundits made their predictions at the start of the season, Kalba were a popular pick to struggle, given their chequered history in the top division.

Still, one point from 10 games is worse than expected.

In their last two appearances in the professional league, they did not fare much better, but they at least had the consolation of a win in their first 10 matches.

Kalba’s last win in the top division came against Al Nasr in the 17th week of the 2012/13 season.

Since then, they have played 20 matches and have only two draws to show for it.

They are surely headed back to the second-tier Division One, but can they at least win a game before the end of the season? That is the question.

arizvi@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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