Al Ain’s consolidation on top of the standings and Al Wasl’s vital return to winning ways were among the highlights of the twelfth match-week of ADNOC Pro League.
Al Ain had to rely on an own goal from Mohammed Ismail Sayed with four minutes remaining to get past tough opponent Ajman 2-1 and make sure they are heading into the last match-week of the league’s first round as standings leader.
That late goal in the 86th minute meant that Sergiy Rebrov’s boys sit comfortably on top with 30 points and an unbeaten streak of nine wins and three draws after 12 matches.
The second highlight of the week was the handy 5-0 thrashing of lowly Al Orooba at the hands of a resurgent Al Wasl.
Leading 3-0 at half-time through a brace from UAE national team striker Ali Saleh and a goal from Fabio De Lima, the Cheetahs from Zabeel added two more in the second half as Adryelson Silva and Mohammed Salman Al Akhberi added their names on the scoresheet
The full points helped Al Wasl pull themselves up by two slots into eighth position on 17 points, an interesting feature given the fact that just four points separate them from current second-place occupants, Al Wahda.
The 12th round matches also witnessed a sort of meltdown among teams who till now had been worthy challengers to leaders Al Ain.
Al Wahda and Al Jazira derby ended in a 1-1 draw enabling both sides to maintain their second and fifth places respectively, while Shabab Al Ahli conceded a shocking 4-1 defeat at the hands of Bani Yas whose performances have been wavering so far.
Ittihad Kalba picked up where they had left off prior to the international break adding another three points to climb by a spot into sixth, while Al Nasr’s draw against Al Dhafra saw them slip one spot into seventh, a point clear of neighbours Al Wasl.
A lot will be at stake especially for the struggling trio Al Dhafra, Al Orooba and Emirates who lie at the bottom of the table with the competition headed for the final week of round one scheduled for January 8th and 9th.