Baniyas midfielder Bandar Al Ahbabi is surrounded by Al Shabab players during their Arabian Gulf league match on March 13. Photo courtesy: Al Ittihad
Baniyas midfielder Bandar Al Ahbabi is surrounded by Al Shabab players during their Arabian Gulf league match on March 13. Photo courtesy: Al Ittihad

Title race blown open as Al Dhafra survive Al Ain onslaught and Al Shabab beat Baniyas

Caio Junior has set his sights on a top-two finish in the Arabian Gulf League after his Al Shabab side moved to within two points of second-place Al Jazira with a battling win over Baniyas.

Henrique Luvannor’s brilliant 36th-minute goal helped Shabab move four points clear of Al Wahda in third place and, with leaders Al Ain dropping points at Al Dhafra earlier in the day, Caio says the championship race is alive again.

“It [Al Ain’s result] is good for all,” he said. “It means the championship is still open. It means Jazira can still become champions and we need to try as well.

“We have seven matches to do it, and I believe in our chances. Our first target is to finish second, and if we manage to do better than that, then that will be great.”

Luvannor could have had his name on the scoresheet inside the opening minute when Abdullah Faraj crossed the ball, but the Moldovan’s header 16 seconds into the match just missed its mark.

The 24 year old had another opportunity in the 28th minute, but he blasted the ball wide. Luvannor made up for those two missed opportunities in the 36th minute, however, with a brilliant finish from a very tight angle.

Watching the Shabab goalkeeper’s kick float across the pitch, Luvannor made an unimpeded dash into the box, evaded Baniyas goalkeeper Mohsin Al Hashmi’s sliding tackle and then curled the ball into the far corner, standing inches away from the endline, through former Valencia defender Angel Dealbert’s legs.

Drubbed 5-2 at home by Sharjah in their last match, Baniyas made a spirited comeback in the second half and Denis Stracqualursi could have equalised in the 56th minute, but Bandar Al Ahbabi’s cross just evaded his reach.

The visitors further upped the pressure in the closing minutes, but Shabab kept them at bay for the three points.

“The first half was for Al Shabab and the second half belonged to us,” said Luis Garcia, the Baniyas coach. “The only difference is they scored one goal. I don’t think Shabab were better than us, but they scored the goal.”

This was the fourth consecutive defeat for his team, but the Spaniard said there were no problems in the squad.

“We are missing some key players every match,” he said. “But if we can keep playing at the level we showed in the second half today, I am sure things will be different in the coming matches.”

Al Dhafra v Al Ain

Makhete Diop scored one of the goals of the season as Al Dhafra survived a barrage from Al Ain to claim a hard-earned point at the Al Dhafra Stadium on Friday night.

Despite near total domination, Al Ain found themselves heading into half-time 1-0 down after Diop produced a David Beckham-esque lob from the halfway line.

The visitors finally found an equaliser 19 minutes after the restart, with French forward Jires Kembo-Ekoko levelling the score.

Al Ain continued to dominate both possession and chances, but simply could not find their way through an organised and stubborn Dhafra back-line.

Indeed, the hosts almost snatched all three points right at the death, but saw a fierce shot in injury time canon off the crossbar.

The draw, combined with Al Jazira’s 2-0 victory over Al Ahli on Thursday means Al Ain’s lead at the top of the table has been cut to four points.

While Al Dhafra will celebrate the point, there could be a long-term concern over goalscorer Diop, who was stretchered off with a knee injury moments into the second half.

Elsewhere, Mahmoud Khamis struck one of the season’s fastest goals, inside the one-minute mark, to guide Al Nasr to a 1-0 win at struggling Fujairah.

Al Nasr move above Al Wasl into fifth place, while Fujairah remain third from bottom.

It was all square between Sharjah and Emirates Club with Mohamed Malalla Hassan giving visiting Emirates a 1-0 lead in the 71st minute before Sharjah struck back to with Marion’s goal in the 79th minute.

Sharjah and Emirates sit 10th and 11th respectively.

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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

The years Ramadan fell in May





Going grey? A stylist's advice

If you’re going to go grey, a great style, well-cared for hair (in a sleek, classy style, like a bob), and a young spirit and attitude go a long way, says Maria Dowling, founder of the Maria Dowling Salon in Dubai.
It’s easier to go grey from a lighter colour, so you may want to do that first. And this is the time to try a shorter style, she advises. Then a stylist can introduce highlights, start lightening up the roots, and let it fade out. Once it’s entirely grey, a purple shampoo will prevent yellowing.
“Get professional help – there’s no other way to go around it,” she says. “And don’t just let it grow out because that looks really bad. Put effort into it: properly condition, straighten, get regular trims, make sure it’s glossy.”


Scotland 54-17 Fiji
England 15-16 New Zealand


Mohammed Naveed (captain), Mohamed Usman (vice-captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Imran Haider, Tahir Mughal, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed, Fahad Nawaz, Abdul Shakoor, Sultan Ahmed, CP Rizwan

Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Avinash Bohara, Sundeep Jora, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Rohit Paudel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Basant Regmi, Pawan Sarraf, Bhim Sharki, Aarif Sheikh


Company name: Terra
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founder: Hussam Zammar
Sector: Mobility
Investment stage: Pre-seed funding of $1 million

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

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