Leaders Al Ain further consolidated their position while opening up a seven-point lead at the top at the end of the eleventh round of the ADNOC Pro League.
With Al Nasr quietly kept at bay through a 3-1 win, Al Ain’s cause at the summit was further helped as Ittihad Kalba sprung a huge surprise with a shock 2-1 win against immediate challengers Al Wahda.
While Al Wahda will need to get back to the drawing and learn from their mistakes following their away loss to Ittihad Kalba, the other serious challengers such as Shabab Al Ahli, Al Jazira and Sharjah kept up the pressure on the leaders with handy wins.
In what looked to be a certain draw, Shabab Al Ahli had to rely on a 72nd minute wonder-strike from Ahmed Noorallah to get full points at the Rashid Stadium.
The three points kept Mahdi Ali’s Knights in third place and 20 points, the same as second-placed Al Wahda.
Running into a lot of attacking issues earlier in the season, Sharjah also came up with a convincing 3-0 win against Bani Yas to push the Sky Blues from Abu Dhabi in distant 12th place.
A lovely free kick from Caio Lucas a minute after the half-hour mark gave Sharjah the lead.
Saif Rashid doubled it in the 48th minute and then Gustavo Alex put the issue beyond doubt in the 75th minute as the home side dominated to climb by one spot with 19 points into fourth position.
Al Jazira too were merciless in their 4-0 thumping of Khor Fakkan with Abdoulay Diaby scoring at either end, while Ahmed Fawzi and Abdullah Ramadan got their names on the scoresheet in-between.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi now sit coyly in fifth place with 19 points and a tricky trip against neighbours Al Wahda coming up next week.
Other than these matches, the other results barely made an impact on the standings.
Ajman holding on to a goalless draw against visiting Al Wasl meant that the home side continued in eighth, while Al Wasl slipped by a spot into tenth.
Al Orooba and Emirates were involved in an entertaining 4-2 result for the home side.
Al Orooba continued in 13th place, while cellar-placed Emirates continued their desperate search for a win that has so far proved elusive.
The next bit of action in the ADNOC Pro League will continue with Round 12 matches on December 30-31.