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Arabian Gulf League matchweek 20 roundup

The Arabian Gulf League title race looks set to go down to the wire after the top three sides earned wins in matchweek 20, as Al Jazira maintained a two-point lead over Bani Yas and Sharjah remained two points behind the Sky Blues.


After dropping two points against Shabab Al Ahli last week, Al Jazira bounced back with a close a 1-0 away win over bottom-placed Hatta to consolidate their position at the top of the standings. Ali Mabkhout netted the only goal to seal three important points and deny Bani Yas from overtaking them at the summit. Al Jazira keeper Ali Khaseif was also key in securing the full points after saving 7 shots on target.


Bani Yas pulled off a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Al Nasr to keep the pressure on Al Jazira at the top. Al Nasr took a 1-0 advantage into the second half thanks to Mehdi Abeid’s opener. Joao Pedro equalized in the 58th minute and Toze regained Al Nasr’s lead with just over 20 minutes to go. Bani Yas sealed the three points after scoring twice in five minutes with Sultan Al Shamsi finding the back of the net in the 87th minute and Fawaz Awana netting the winner in the second minute of injury time.


After a run of disappointing results, Sharjah bounced back with a 5-1 win over Khorfakkan. While the guests controlled possession, the home side were more clinical in front of goal. Sharjah scored five goals off six shots on target, with Igor Coronado netting his first super hat-trick in the Arabian Gulf League and Waleed Sirag scoring an own-goal. The King’s victory saw them maintain the two-point gap with second-placed Bani Yas and widen the gap with Al Nasr to four points.


Despite the defeat, Al Nasr remained in fourth place, as Shabab Al Ahli settled to a 1-1 draw with Arabian Gulf League strugglers Ajman. Although Shabab Al Ahli had the upper hand for most of the game, they scored only once, thanks to Ali Al Hosani’s fine performance which saw him make six saves. Ajman scored one goal by Bubacarr Trawally off their two shots on target, while Jaloliddin Masharipov netted Shabab Al Ahli’s goal off a total of eight shots on target. Shabab Al Ahli are leveled on 34 points with Al Ain who sit sixth after defeating Al Wahda.


Al Ain cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win over Al Wahda at Al Nahyan Stadium, as they scored four goals off six attempts on target, and Khalid Eisa made five saves. Al Ain had the three points all but sealed in the first half, which saw them take a 3-0 advantage thanks to goals from Laba Kodjo, Caio Canedo, and Khalid Al Blooshi. Kodjo netted the fourth two minutes from time to secure the victory. The defeat left Al Wahda in eighth place, levelled on points with ninth-placed Ittihad Kalba and one below Al Wasl in seventh place.


Al Wasl snatched a point against Fujairah after Fabio Lima netted deep into injury time to cancel Mohamed Firas Belarbi’s opener. Lima is now involved in Al Wasl’s past 11 goals in the Arabian Gulf League (10 goals – 1 assist).


Ittihad Kalba came from behind to defeat Al Dhafra 2-1, as Makhete Diop opened the scoring before Romulo Dos Santos and Davide Mariani guided the home side to the three points. The defeat left Al Dhafra in 10th place on 20 points, two above Khorfakkan.

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