The first leg of the Arabian Gulf Cup playoff round, which was held under the slogan "commit to succeed", concluded on Friday with three teams getting wins away from home, two earning home victories and one game ending in a draw.
Khorfakkan had a flying start to the season and are now favorites to advance to the next round after collecting a surprising 4-2 victory over Al Ain at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium. The game saw Wilson Eduardo miss the first penalty of the season. The Eagles will be looking to seal the qualification ticket when they host the Boss on November 13.
Bani Yas also moved a step closer to the next round of the competition after earning a valuable 2-0 away win over Hatta. The away victory will ease the Sky Blues' mission in the return leg on November 12 at Bani Yas Stadium. Despite the defeat, Hatta completed the most passes in the first leg (593) with an accuracy rate of 88 per cent.
Al Wasl came from behind to edge Al Wahda 2-1 thanks to João Figueiredo’s last-gasp goal. Despite the win, Al Wasl are expected to face a tough task when they host the Clarets at Zabeel Stadium on November 13.
Meanwhile, two teams only were able to get home wins, as Ittihad Kalba earned a late 2-1 win over Al Jazira after a last-gasp goal from Peniel Mlapa, while Fujairah emerged 1-0 winner over Ajman thanks to Waleed Al Yamahi own goal.
The only draw was between Al Dhafra and Shabab Al Ahli, as Denílson netted a late goal for the away side. Al Dhafra keeper Khaled Al Senani put in an impressive performance as he saved six shots to become the keeper with the most saves in the competition, so far.
A total of 17 goals were scored in the first leg of the playoff round with an average of 2.83 goals per games. Togolese forward Peniel Mlapa top the goalscoring charts as he has two goals to his name after scoring a brace against Al Jazira.
Khorfakkan have the best offensive record after netting four goals in the first leg. Meanwhile, Hatta and Ajman failed to find the back of the net and Bani Yas and Fujairah were the only teams to keep a clean sheet in the first leg.
Only one red card was handed during the first leg matches as Al Ain's Mohsen Abdullah was sent off in the 89th minuteof his side's clash with Khorfakkan.
The second leg of the playoff round is scheduled to be held on November 12 and 13.