ABU DHABI // Makhete Diop came back to haunt his former employers on Wednesday, playing a pivotal role in Al Ahli’s 2-0 victory over Al Dhafra.
The Senegalese earned a penalty just before half time for Asamoah Gyan to convert and scored Ahli’s second just past the hour as the Dubai club kept up the pressure on Arabian Gulf League leaders Al Jazira.
The win kept Ahli within six points of leaders Al Jazira, who kept stayed comfortably at the top with a 2-0 win over Al Ain on Wednesday.
Diop went down under what appeared minimal contact from Dhafra goalkeeper Abdulla Sultan for Gyan to step up and give Ahli the lead two minutes before the break.
The majority of Diop’s 134 goals for the Western Region club came at the Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium and he added another one to his tally – albeit for his new employers Ahli – when he fired home after exchanging passes with Everton Ribeiro on the edge of the box on 63 minutes.
“This is life. What can I do now I’m an Ahli player,” said Diop, who moved to Ahli in the winter transfer window after a four-and-a-half-year spell at Dhafra.
“I must say congratulations to Ahli and hard luck for Dhafra. I have a job to do at Ahli.
“They are challenging for the title and with five more rounds left we just need to win every game and hope for some favourable results to come our way from the other games.”
Ahli were the more of the two teams and were good value for the three points.
Cosmin Olaroiu’s men controlled possession and territory, yet they struggled to break down a resolute Dhafra rearguard in the opening exchanges.
Dhafra had their chances and were unlucky not to reduce the arrears when a header from the Moroccan Yassine Salhi cannoned off the bar in the 70th minute.
In the first half, the Ahli keeper Majed Naser did well to block a stinging shot from Khalid Al Hajri on the near post.
The Ahli gloveman was called into action again when blocking a powerfully struck right-footer from Adil Hermach five minutes from time.
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