Led by clear leaders Al Ain, a couple of teams are proving to be worthy challengers after the ‘Limitless Determination’ Round Ten of the UAE ADNOC Pro League, earlier this week.
Al Ain have been irrepressible so far this season, and they stamped their class further and sent out a stern warning to all with a thumping 5-1 away win against defending champions Al Jazira, last Saturday.
The standings table looks all too familiar with Al Ain further consolidating their position at the summit with 24 points, followed by Al Wahda (20) and Shabab Al Ahli and Al Nasr with 17 points apiece.
Sharjah and Al Jazira are in fifth and sixth respectively, with 16 points each, followed by Khor Fakkan (15) and Ajman (14) in seventh and eighth.
The lower rung of the table also stays more or less the same with Al Wasl (13) and Ittihad Kalba (12) keeping their spots, while Bani Yas earned a much-needed win to take their tally up to 12 in eleventh place, leaving Al Dhafra (8), Al Orooba (4) and Emirates (1) to tussle and keep away from a likely relegation.
Other than the three points that they bagged, it was their sheer class and authority that was on display as a rampant Al Ain totally outplayed Al Jazira on home turf.
Perhaps, Al Jazira made the mortal mistake of scoring first when Milos Kosanovic found the net in the 12th minute.
Aggrieved by this early reversal, Al Ain hit back with the inspirational striker from Togo, Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba delivering a hat-trick, while Moroccan Soufiane Rahimi and Argentinian Cristian Guanca added one each to complete the crushing win.
This bodes well for young Serhiy Rebrov – voted ‘best coach for October’ for a third successive time – as his players seem to have found their scoring mojo, especially against a strong opposition like Al Jazira.
Al Wahda were the other team that shone with a dominating and calculated 3-0 win against high-flying Ajman, on Sunday.
Led by an inspirational skipper in the vintage mould of Ismail Matar, Al Wahda found goals in the 47th minute (Fabio Martins), 51st minute (Mansour Al Harbi) and 80th minute (Joao Pedro) to complete the scoreline.
Sharjah was the other team that showed promise following their 3-1 result against Khor Fakkan.
Sharjah paced themselves well with Marcus Vinicius (16th minute) and Ben Malango (22nd minute) giving them the early cushion.
Paulo Melo pulled one back for the home team two minutes from the one-hour mark, but Otabek Shukurov scored a third in the 81st minute as Sharjah put their campaign back on track.
In other interesting results, Al Nasr dented Shabab Al Ahli hopes of full points with a hard-fought 1-1 draw, while Bani Yas entered the winning bracket with a 2-0 result against Al Orooba.
The ADNOC Pro League will now take a break of more than a month with the eleventh round of matches scheduled to be held on December 25-26.