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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 3 March 2021

Arabian Gulf League title race 'wide open' after Al Ain's win at Sharjah

Sharjah remain top despite 2-1 setback

Al Ain’s Togolese forward Kodjo Laba in action against Sharjah. Courtesy PLC
Al Ain’s Togolese forward Kodjo Laba in action against Sharjah. Courtesy PLC

Mohammed Ahmed believes Al Ain are firmly in the title race after a 2-1 win over Sharjah moved them to within nine points of the reigning Arabian Gulf League champions.

Al Ain rallied from a goal down to inflict Sharjah’s second defeat in the league at the Sharjah Stadium on Saturday.

The result took Al Ain’s tally to 27 points from 16 games and up to fourth spot, nine behind the runaway leaders Sharjah.

“We still have a lot of matches left to play and it is still a wide open race for the league title,” Ahmed said.

“This result is a massive confidence booster. We have a lot of catching up to do but to win against Sharjah, who has been in good form, was certainly a big hurdle to clear.”

Sharjah broke the deadlock through Caio Lucas on 10 minutes. The Brazilian midfielder picked up a through pass off a counterattack to fire a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

Igor Coronado missed an opportunity to double Sharjah’s lead before the half-hour mark, as his effort lacked accuracy and landed inches wide.

Sharjah keeper Darwish Mohamed was called into action as he pulled off a fine save to deny Khalid Al Blooshi’s strike from outside the box before Yahia Nader netted the equaliser in added time.

The Emirati midfielder fired a powerful long-range shot that hit the woodwork before settling into the back of the net.

Kodjo Laba put the visitors ahead on 70 minutes. Mohamed saved Shoya Nakajima’s effort but for the Togolese forward was on hand to tap home the rebound.

Elsewhere, Baniyas beat Khorfakkan 2-1 away to consolidate third spot four points behind Sharjah.

Goals from Sultan Al Shamsi and Joao Pedro gave Baniyas in front at the interval before Raphael Guimaraes reduced the deficit on 57 minutes.

Al Wahda secured a 2-2 draw away to Shabab Al Ahli while bottom club Hatta thrashed Ajman 3-0 to record their first win in the AGL though they remain four points from safety.

Published: February 14, 2021 09:38 AM

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