Oliveira double sets Sharjah on their way to victory

After an indifferent first session, Sharjah came out firing in the second half to force a 3-0 victory over Kalba at the Al Nasr Club.

DUBAI // After an indifferent first session, Sharjah came out firing in the second half to force a 3-0 victory over Kalba at the Al Nasr Club last night. Marcelo Oliveira gave Sharjah the lead in the 49th minute, Humaid Abdullah doubled the tally nine minutes later, and Oliveira completed the scoring in extra time with his second goal. That was more than enough to secure the victory for Sharjah on a hot, humid night.

Kalba, promoted to the top echelon this season after six years of trying, were forced to play their "home" game against Sharjah at Al Nasr in Dubai because their ground is not ready yet. For the early parts of the match, they seemed comfortable in their home away from home, dictating the pace. But, overall, the game failed to rise above the mundane. The stands were virtually empty, with only a handful of Sharjah supporters arriving for the game.

The proceedings on the field betrayed a similar disinterest. The first real threatening move, from either side, did not arrive till the 17th minute and it fizzled out as Abdulla Baba failed to reach a well-measured cross by Moustapha Dabo from the right. In the 21st minute, Juma Sanqoor gave the Sharjah defence an anxious moment when he blasted the ball just over the crossbar. Mahmoud Almas, the Sharjah goalkeeper, was then forced to make three saves within seconds of each other in the 35th minute.

First he snuffed Babe's volley following a counter-attack; next, he slid in to block Dabo's shot; and then punched Salim Jasim's volley away for a corner. After their lethargic showing in the first half, Sharjah returned to take the lead just four minutes into the second half. Roberto Brito Luciano, a Brazilian known as "Robinho" (but, no, not the Manchester City Robinho), crossed the ball in from the left and his Brazilian counterpart, Oliveira, rose at the far post to nod the ball home. Robinho was instrumental in the second goal as well, again finding a teammate with a cross. Marcelo sold a dummy and Abdullah managed a faint touch on the ball as he lost his footing and it trickled into the net. arizvi@thenational.ae

Sharjah Oliveira 49', 90+1', Abdullah 58' Man of the match Marcelo Oliveira (Sharjah)