Matchweek 16 of the Arabian Gulf League saw a number of thrilling encounters and results, with Al Jazira moving level on points with Sharjah at the top, Bani Yas maintaining the third place, and Al Ain jumping into the top four, and Hatta collecting their first win of the season.
Sharjah suffered their second defeat of the season after falling to a 2-1 loss at home at the hands of Al Ain, who earned their first win over the King since 2017. Caio Lucas broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, but Yahia Nader leveled the scoreline just before the break. Then, Laba Kodjo netted the winner in the 72nd minute. Sharjah’s attempts to net the equalizer were denied by in-form keeper Khalid Eisa, who blocked four shots in the second half and helped his side move fourth.
Al Jazira capitalized on Sharjah’s stumble as they are now tied on 36 points with the King, who top the standings by virtue of head-to-head record. The Pride of Abu Dhabi earned a resounding 6-0 win over Ittihad Kalba, after netting four goals in the first half. Abdulla Idrees opened the scoring and Khalfan Mubarak and Khalifa Al Hammadi got their names on the scoresheet, along with Ali Mabkhout who netted a hat-trick to top the goalscoring charts with 14 goals. He was involved in 11 goals in his side’s past three games (7 goals and 4 assists).
This marked Al Jazira’s biggest ever away from home win in the Arabian Gulf League. In addition, keeper Ali Khasif pulled off three saves to keep a clean sheet, as the Pride of Abu Dhabi currently have seven clean sheets, which is the highest record in the league so far. On the other hand, Kalba remained ninth with 22 points.
Bani Yas defeated Khorfakkan 2-1 in a match that saw the guests score two goals in the first half, thanks to efforts from Sultan Al Shamsi and Joao Pedro, who raised his tally to 12 goals. The Sky Blues continue to impress in the early stages of the matches, as they netted five goals so far in the first 10 minutes.
Raphael Guimaraes ‘Dodo’ pulled one back for Khorfakkan in the second half, before Khalid Al Hashemi was sent off for the first time in his career. Khorfakkan controlled the possession afterward yet failed to find the back of the net, as Bani Yas earned their second win in a row and maintained their third place, while Khorfakkan remained in 11th place.
Although Al Nasr controlled possession throughout their 1-0 defeat to Al Wasl (61% in the first half and 64% in the second half), the latter were more dangerous on goal, threatening keeper Ahmed Shambih on five occasions.
Fabio Lima netted the winner off his only shot on target to hand Al Wasl their first win over Al Nasr since 2017. Al Wasl also earned three straight wins for the first time this season and are the only team along with Shabab Al Ahli who are yet to suffer a league defeat in 2021. The Blues dropped to 5th place on 27 points, one above Al Wasl who moved up to 7th place and are tied on 26 points with sixth-placed Shabab Al Ahli, who settled for a thrilling 2-2 draw with Al Wahda at Rashid Stadium.
Gianluca Muniz opened the scoring for Al Wahda in the 26th minute before Mohammed Juma equalized eight minutes later. Carlos Eduardo then handed the hosts the lead in the 59th minute, but Khamis Esmaeel’s response came fast as he levelled the scoreline only one minute later.
Al Wahda relied on long-range efforts, as they sent 9 shots from outside the box and scored two, as they dropped to eighth place on 24 points. On the other hand, Shabab Al Ahli controlled possession and were more dangerous on goal. In addition, Igor Jesus assisted Shabab Al Ahli’s two goals, as he is now involved in nine goals in his team’s past five games in the league and cup (3 goals – 6 assists).
Fujairah moved up to 12th place after defeating 10th-placed Al Dhafra 4-2 in a match that saw them net four goals for the first time in the Arabian Gulf League since May 2019.
Pedro Conde scored twice from the spot in the first half before Fujairah made a comeback. Kristiano Samuel pulled one back before the break, and Ahmed Suliman netted the equalizer after the one-hour mark. Samuel handed Fujairah the lead before Ali Eid sealed the victory in injury time, as the hosts capitalized on Al Dhafra’s numerical disadvantage after they were reduced to 9 men in the 59th minute.
After remaining winless for 15 games, Hatta finally earned their first win of the season by defeating Ajman 3-0 at Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium. Jonathas netted a double from the spot, while Ahmad Malallah sealed the victory in injury time.
This is the first time that Hatta net three goals in a league game since February 2018. Despite the win, Hatta linger at the bottom on five points, four below Ajman who dropped to 13th place.