Mohammed Juma scored and provided an assist as Shabab Al Ahli defeated Emirates team 2-0 in the President’s Cup quarter-finals at the Rashid Stadium on Tuesday.
The diminutive Emirati, 23, found the back of the net with a splendid effort two minutes before the break and sent a through pass for Brazilian Igor Jesus to net the second on 76 minutes.
Shabab Al Ahli started positively. Juma intercepted a Carlos Eduardo pass and worked down the left, before cutting into the box and unleashing a left-footer.
Ismail Al Hammadi had a golden chance to double the lead four minutes into the second half. The UAE international had only the keeper to beat but he sent the shot way over the crossbar.
Emirates beat the goalkeeper twice but the goals were disallowed following a VAR referral for offside and for a foul by Colombian forward Tommy Tobar on the Shabab Al Ahli keeper Majed Naser.
The hosts then put the game beyond Emirates when Jesus tapped the ball into an empty net, much to the delight of their returning Emirati manager Mahdi Ali who is back for his third spell at the club.
Mahdi replaced Spaniard Gerard Zaragoza last week but his first game in charge ended in defeat to Fujairah 3-2 in the Arabian Gulf League four days ago.
Hamdan Al Kamali, who was a member of the UAE Olympic and senior national teams when Mahdi was in charge, is confident of his team's chances.
“There is no immediate fix for a team that hasn’t done well in the first 10 games in the league [nine points behind the leaders in ninth spot] but this result certainly is a good start,” the centre back said.
“Tonight we showed a lot of stability in the defence which really was the key for the win. The first goal came right on time before the break and it provided us the momentum for the next half.
“We had a few youngsters in the line-up for this game and one of them [Juma] played a massive role when provided with the opportunity. He scored and made an assist. I think these are good signs for the coming games.”
In the late match at the Al Maktoum Stadium, second-half strikes from Israeli signing Diaa Saba and Sebastian Tagliabue sealed Al Nasr’s passage to the last four after their 2-0 win over Ajman.
Nasr and Ajman both ended the game with 10-men. Mahmoud Khamis was banished in the 66th minute for a second bookable offence while Ajman’s Mohammed Ismail followed suit seven minutes for the same fault.