Mohammed Abdulrahman, centre, was Al Ain's best performer against Al Nasr on Saturdat night. Al Ittihad
Mohammed Abdulrahman, centre, was Al Ain's best performer against Al Nasr on Saturdat night. Al Ittihad

Mohammed Abdulrahman shines as Al Ain thump Al Nasr to extend lead in Arabian Gulf League table



Man of the match Mohammed Abdulrahman (Al Ain)

DUBAI // If Al Ahli have hogged the limelight thus far this season – and justifiably so – then their run across the continent seems to have inadvertently galvanised Al Ain, too.

The UAE champions most probably watched their old nemesis march through the Asian Champions League and into this month’s final, but it presumably did not make for easy viewing.

So Al Ain likely resolved to snatch back a share of the headlines, an endeavour that continued on Saturday night at Al Maktoum Stadium with a convincing 3-0 victory against Al Nasr.

Nasr had represented title rivals, and may well still do, but they could not seize the opportunity to leapfrog the leaders at the summit, departing their home bullied and beaten. Previously undefeated in the league, Nasr remain third, four points behind their opponents.

Al Ain, meanwhile, go from strength to strength. The win came courtesy of a Saeed Al Kathiri penalty, a sumptuous strike from Mohammed Fawzi and Ibrahim Diaky’s late goal. In truth, the points always appeared destined for the Garden City.

Even without foreign players Emmanuel Emenike (injured) and Ryan Babel (relegated to the substitute’s bench), Al Ain highlighted exactly why it will be difficult to wrest the trophy from their possession this season.

Al Kathiri and Fawzi gave them a commanding first-half lead, but Mohammed Abdulrahman deserved significant credit for creating both goals. First, he won the penalty on 26 minutes, then his burst forward and crossfield pass in injury time released Fawzi to loop a half-volley from 25 yards into the Nasr net. Diaky, a second-half sub, made the game safe nine minutes from the end.

Al Ain were en route to win No 7 from nine league matches, their lead at the summit extended to four points. Are you watching Ahli?

Man of the match

Mohammed Abdulrahman, Al Ain Usually plays second fiddle to brother Omar, but the Al Ain midfielder was at the hub of his side's best play, setting up both goals. Substituted just before the hour, although by that time his work was already done.

What managers said

Ivan Jovanovic, Al Nasr coach: “I believe it was a fair win for Al Ain. It was a game of great importance for both teams and in these cases small details determine the outcome. As a team we wanted too much to win, but after the two goals there was a lot of disappointment. Every mistake we made we were punished by a goal.”

Zlatko Dalic, Al Ain manager: “For us it’s a very important three points. We had control and did enough for the win. Now we have to turn our minds to next game against Ahli. Kathiri now is our first-choice striker. I gave him a chance because he’s scored in the last five matches. I’m happy with him, but we expect more from him.”​

The National’s verdict

This represented a tricky test for Al Ain, with Nasr one of only two unbeaten sides in the league this season. However, they came through comfortably, an ominous sign considering they were missing key men. Next up for the champions? Ahli, at home, on December 5.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Safety 'top priority' for rival hyperloop company

The chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Andres de Leon, said his company's hyperloop technology is “ready” and safe.

He said the company prioritised safety throughout its development and, last year, Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, announced it was ready to insure their technology.

“Our levitation, propulsion, and vacuum technology have all been developed [...] over several decades and have been deployed and tested at full scale,” he said in a statement to The National.

“Only once the system has been certified and approved will it move people,” he said.

HyperloopTT has begun designing and engineering processes for its Abu Dhabi projects and hopes to break ground soon. 

With no delivery date yet announced, Mr de Leon said timelines had to be considered carefully, as government approval, permits, and regulations could create necessary delays.

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GOLF’S RAHMBO

- 5 wins in 22 months as pro
- Three wins in past 10 starts
- 45 pro starts worldwide: 5 wins, 17 top 5s
- Ranked 551th in world on debut, now No 4 (was No 2 earlier this year)
- 5th player in last 30 years to win 3 European Tour and 2 PGA Tour titles before age 24 (Woods, Garcia, McIlroy, Spieth)

How to wear a kandura

Dos

  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
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ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


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