The first half of the ADNOC Pro League ended with Al Ain retaining the top spot despite suffering their first defeat of the campaign while the four-team strong chasing pack all secured full marks on matchweek 13 to close the gap on the leaders.
An early Zakaria Boulahia strike after only 86 seconds was enough for Emirates to pick up their first win of the league season, defeating Ajman 1-0.
Ajman enjoyed the bulk of possession and posed a real danger on Emirates' goalkeeper Suhail Ibrahim, who saved each of his opponents’ eight shots on target to maintain his side's first clean sheet of the campaign.
On the other hand, Emirates had only two shots on target, one in each half.
Both Khaled Amber, Feras Al Khaseebi produced four interceptions, while Emirates defender Yago Leonadro made eight clearances as his side dominated aerial duels and midfield battles.
Ittihad Kalba- Bani Yas
Mohamed Rashid Al Hammadi bagged a brace as Bani Yas pulled off a 3-1 victory over Ittihad Kalba. Despite the home side's dominance, it was Bani Yas’ swift counter-attacking play that made the difference.
Al Hammadi showed his fine scoring instincts while Argentinian Nicolás Giménez assisted all of his side’s three goals of the night.
Despite playing only 31 minutes, Ittihad Kalba's Fahad Sabeel was a model of efficiency, creating five scoring chances.
The home side swung in 46 crosses during the match, a record for a single ADNOC Pro League game this season.
Sharjah - Al Ain
Two goals within the opening 18 minutes helped Sharjah down table-topping Al Ain for the first time this term.
Both goals came in the aftermath of set-pieces , Sharjah enjoyed 54% of the possession in the first 15 minutes, compared to Al Ain's 46%. Al Ain then dominated the rest of the game but failed to find the back of the net. Each team fired nine efforts, two of which were on target for each.
Sharjah's Majid Rashid produced a textbook defensive midfield performance, but it was Luan Pereira who won the most duels in the game (14 out of 20 duels).
At the other end, Cristian Guanca left his scoring boots at home, failing to direct any of his four shots goalward.
Al Ain were also inefficient in converting crosses with Bandar Al Ahbabi sending six balls into the box and Eric crossing four, but to no avail.
Al Orooba - Al Dhafra
Al Dhafra left it late to snatch a 1-1 draw against Al Orooba in a cagey affair.
Possession was equally shared in the first half with Al Dhafra attempting two shots before the break and Al Orooba responding with as many after the restart. Al Dhafra’s equaliser came from their only effort on target in the second half.
Khalid Al Zaabi created a club-high four scoring chances, including a decisive assist for his teammate Khalid Al Darmaki’s leveller.
Al Nasr - Al Wahda
Al Wahda recorded their first win against Al Nasr at Al Maktoum Stadium since 2017, beating them 2-1 in a game of two halves.
Al Nasr enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, while Al Wahda dominated in the second period.
Al Nasr had two shots on target during the game, both in the first half with Sebastian Tagilabue seeing his header saved and Toze finding the back of the net, whereas Al Wahda fired four efforts on target, two in each half.
Fábio Martins scored the opening goal for Al Wahda and was equally involved defensively, producing five interceptions out of seven attempts, while his teammate Ala Zhir made nine clearances, the highest amongst the 22 players on the pitch.
Shabab Al Ahli - Khorfakkan
Goals from Omar Abdulrahman, Guilherme da Silva, and Yahya Al Ghassani handed Shabab Al Ahli a solid 3-1 win over Khorfakkan at Rashid Stadium on Tuesday.
Coach Mahdi Ali’s men enjoyed 69% of the possession, producing 637 passes, while Khorfakkan ended the game with 31% possession, making 287 passes.
Bader Nasser, Hareb Abdulla, and Azizjon Ganiev created three chances each, with the former two producing assists, while Ganiev was physically dominant with 10 duels won out of 14 involved in.
On the other side, Dudu created as many as six chances, but none were converted by his teammates.
Al Jazira - Al Wasl
A dramatic end to the first half of the campaign saw Al Jazira come from behind to defeat Al Wasl 3-2.
A closely contested game saw Al Jazira keep most of the possession while Al Wasl produced 12 efforts, of which four were on target, compared to four on target for Al Jazira out of only six.
Al Jazira goalkeeper Ali Khaseif continued his brilliant performance as he denied two dangerous shots for Al Wasl late on to maintain his side's lead.
Forward Ahmed Al Attas produced two assists on his return to his boyhood club, and his teammate Abdullah Ramadan was Al Jazira’s beating heart, making 91 passes from 117 touches, both the highest in the game.
Meanwhile Al Wasl’s Fábio Lima produced three scoring chances, of which an assist was decisive.