October 23, 2021

UAE Arabian Gulf League: Bani Yas slip against Sharjah, Al Jazira recapture pole position

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With three matchdays remaining, the race for the league title is going down the wire…

Bani Yas had to surrender their pole position in the league table after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sharjah FC on matchday 23 of the Arabian Gulf League. 

Daniel Isaila’s men drew first blood in the match when Brazilain forward Joao Pedro converted from the spot after he was fouled inside the box. 

After falling behind, the hosts started attacking with more intent and purpose and they struck the woodwork just before the half-hour mark through Caio. However, just four minutes before the break, the 26-year-old cancelled the deficit when he struck from close range to bring his team on level terms. 

But Al Jazira made the most of their dip in form and reclaimed pole position by defeating Al Wasl 3-2 in a hard-fought battle. 

It took just 13 minutes for them to go ahead in the match as Hueglo Neris scored an own goal by heading the ball into his own net during his attempt to clear the lines. But Al Wasl responded quickly and equalised through Fabio Lima. 

Ali Mabkhout was in terrific form right from the off and he continued to ask serious questions of the defenders. His efforts paid dividends when he restored Al Jazira’s lead after the half-hour mark. 

It was a see-saw battle for the remainder of the first half but neither team could add to their tally. After the break, it was the visitors who started on a positive note and in the 64th minute, they once again scored through Lima who scored his second of the night. 

But their joys were cut short when Milos Kosanovic produced a peach of a freekick that rippled the net in the 69th minute to once again restore the lead. 

The defeat to Al Jazira ended Al Wasl’s 12-game unbeaten streak and they stay on the ninth spot with 34 points. Whereas, the victors moved to the top spot with 50 points in their kitty. 

Following the win, Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer praised his troops for pulling off a narrow victory. 

“Very happy with the team’s performance, especially the intensity we played with, we played with a lot of energy and the players are really tired in the dressing room. Al Wasl have really improved through the season so it was a really tough game, we knew this. 

“But Ali scored a really great goal with assists from Khalfan and Milos who trains a lot on these freekicks and you can see how this pays off for the team. Really good. We did what we had to do. Now we have to wait four weeks for our next game but we will prepare,” he stated.