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UAE Pro League
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Matchweek 19 roundup: Title race & relegation battle heat up

The Arabian Gulf League title race is set to go down to the wire, as Bani Yas earned a valuable win to close the gap at the top, while Al Jazira and Sharjah dropped points, with the Pride of Abu Dhabi settling for a draw and the King suffering a defeat in matchweek 19.


Al Jazira’s lead at the top of the Arabian Gulf League table was cut to two points after they succumbed to a 1-1 draw against Shabab Al Ahli at home. Carlos Eduardo handed the guests the lead on the one-hour mark and Milos Kosanovic snatched a point for the Pride of Abu Dhabi deep into injury time.


Meanwhile, Bani Yas earned a valuable 2-0 away win over Ittihad Kalba to close the gap on Al Jazira at the top and move up to second place on 39 points. Two quick-fire goals from Gaston Suarez and Nicolas Gimenez handed the Sky Blues their second victory in a row and extended their unbeaten run away from home to six league games.


Meanwhile, Sharjah extended their winless streak to five games in the league with a 2-1 defeat to Al Nasr. Sebastian Tagliabue netted a goal in each half, while Saif Rashid scored Sharjah’s only goal, as the Blues collected their first league win over Sharjah since 2017. The King dropped to third place on 37 points, only one above fourth-placed Al Nasr, while Shabab Al Ahli, who played out a 1-1 draw with Al Jazira, sit fifth with 33 points.     


Al Ain settled for a 1-1 draw at home with Al Wasl to remain sixth on 31 points. Ronaldo Mendes canceled out Caio Canedo’s opener, as they settled for a share of spoils at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium. The draw left Al Wasl in eighth place, as they are tied on 29 points with Al Wahda, who played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Ajman at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium.


Ismail Matar opened the scoring for the Clarets before Abdulla Saleh leveled things us. Tim Matavz and Omar Khribin then handed the guests a 3-1 lead. Ajman came back from a two-goal deficit, thanks to goals from Diego Jardel and Bubacarr Trawally. The draw put the Oranges in 12th place, as they are tied on 10 points with Fujairah who dropped into the relegation zone after losing 1-0 to bottom-placed Hatta. Jonathas converted from the spot to guide Hatta to their second win of the season. They raised their tally to 8 points, only two behind each of Fujairah and Ajman as the relegation battle heats up.


Meanwhile, Khorfakkan thrashed Al Dhafra 5-1 at home, yet remained 11th on 18 points, two below Al Dhafra who sit in 10th place. Raphael Guimaraes netted a brace in the first six minutes and Ramon Lopes made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute. Paulo Melo and Ismail Al Hammadi also got their names onto the scoresheet, while Makhete Diop scored Al Dhafra’s only goal in the 71st minute.

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