Caio Lucas double powers Sharjah to victory as Al Wahda prepare for Al Ain showdown

Al Ain and Al Wahda meet in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday

Caio Lucas, left, scored twice in Sharjah’s 2-1 win over Ajman at Sharjah Stadium on Thursday, March 10, 2022. – PLC
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Caio Lucas scored twice as Sharjah overcame Ajman 2-1 at home to stay third in the Adnoc Pro League on Thursday.

The Brazilian was on target off a pin-point pass from Al Hassan Saleh on the 38th minute and regained the lead from a spot kick in added time after Ajman had levelled through Mohammed Helal.

Ajman made several raids at the Sharjah goal in the first half but failed to find the back of the net. Ousmane Camara's header missed the target and Oulaid Azaro was wide from an opportunity.

Caio put the home side ahead and the Brazilian had an opportunity to double the lead 10 minutes into the second half before Ajman equalised through Helal's long-range effort.

Isaac Thelin and Sasa Ivkovic struck late for Baniyas to clinch three points over Al Nasr in Thursday's other game.

Nasr opened the scoring when Ryan Mendes met Wesley Braga's low cross first time with a right footer from the edge of the six-yard box on 18 minutes.

The visitors then suffered a blow when defender Mohammed Fawzi was sent off in the 22nd minute but still managed to overcome the numerical disadvantage to hang on to the lead until the 90th minute.

Thelin thought he had rescued a point for Nasr when he equalised from the penalty spot, sending the goalkeeper Abdulla Al Tamimi the wrong way.

But in an incredible finish to the match, Ivkovic scored in the second minute of the stoppage time when he met Nicolas Gimenez's cross with a powerful header for a 2-1 win for Baniyas.

Al Wahda meet Al Ain in a top-of-the-table clash and at Al Nahyan Stadium on Saturday.

Leaders Al Ain hold a four-point lead over Al Wahda, and the Garden City club’s manager Serhiy Rebrov said: “We have prepared for this match as any other but this game is more important for Al Wahda and not for us.

“For me, if we win its three points or lose its three points and that's all there is to it. We have to play very seriously and without any pressure.

“We also have to not get too nervous. We also have to know exactly how to get the three points. We must have self-confidence. We are at the top of our league table.

“We understand this fact well. At the same time, we have to play seriously against the Al Wahda that has been well organised lately.”

His counterpart Gregory Dufrennes believes the match will not decide the title race either way.

“We are aware the quality of the team we are meeting. They have been in the front from the very first game in the league but we are well prepared and ready to take them on,” the Wahda manager said.

“We have eight matches left in the league, including the game against Al Ain, and it doesn’t mean a result in favour of us or them, is the end of the title race.

“If we win the three points we can put more pressure on them, and if Al Ain win, they will have seven points lead. But when I look at the remaining fixtures, they have tougher matches to play.”

Updated: March 11, 2022, 10:16 AM