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Matchweek 24 roundup: Title race goes down to the wire as Al Jazira, Bani Yas drop points

After a month-long break, the Arabian Gulf League returned with a set of enticing midweek fixtures. Six matches were played in matchweek 24 on Monday, with the 7th fixture between Fujairah and Al Wahda rescheduled for May 15.


With two matchweeks to go, the title race is set to go down to the wire after Al Jazira and Bani Yas dropped points in matchweek 24.


A penalty from Ali Mabkhout secured a point for Al Jazira against Ajman at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium. Despite settling for a 3-3 draw, Al Jazira remained at the top with 51 points, one clear of second-placed Bani Yas. Al Jazira controlled possession throughout the match, yet Ajman proved to be dangerous with 7 shots on target. The draw left Ajman in 12th place with 15 points, 1 clear of Fujairah who still have a game in hand.


Meanwhile, Bani Yas missed out on a golden opportunity to replace Al Jazira at the top after playing out a goalless draw with Shabab Al Ahli. Few chances were created by both sides, as Shabab Al Ahli had three shots on target and Bani Yas had two only. Shabab Al Ahli, who are fifth with 44 points, remain the only unbeaten team in the second half of the season and are now undefeated for 14 straight games.  


Goals from Salem Saleh, Khalid Bawazir, and Antonio Junoir saw Sharjah cruise to a 3-0 win over Hatta. Saleh now scored four goals and assisted one in the past five games with Sharjah in all competitions, while Bawazir netted four goals and assisted two in the last seven games. In addition to returning to winning ways, the King kept a clean sheet for the first time in the second half of the season. The defeat left Hatta at the bottom of the standings on nine points, while Sharjah moved up to third place, leveled on 45 points with fourth-placed Al Nasr.


Al Dhafra came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Al Nasr, before Sebastian Tagliabue netted late from the spot to seal the three points for Al Nasr. The 36-year-old is now involved in 6 goals in the last 6 games in the Arabian Gulf League (5 goals – 1 assist). On the other hand, Al Dhafra’s Makhete Diop is now leveled with Asamoah Gyan on 101 goals, as the best foreign goalscorer in the Arabian Gulf League. The defeat left Al Dhafra in 11th place on 21 points.


Ittihad Kalba and Al Ain played out a 1-1 draw to maintain their places on the standings, as Al Ain remain sixth with 38 points, two clear of seventh-placed Ittihad Kalba. Kodjo Laba is now involved in four goals in four matches against Ittihad Kalba (3 goals – 1 assist), while Peniel Mlapa equaled his goalscoring tally last season (11 goals), with two matches to go in the current Arabian Gulf League campaign.


Khorfakkan officially secured Arabian Gulf League safety with a 2-1 win over Al Wasl. This marked Khorfakkan’s first-ever win over Al Wasl at Zabeel Stadium in the Arabian Gulf League. Meanwhile, Al Wasl extended their goalscoring run for 21 games, equaling their record in the 2009-10 season.  

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