Shabab Al Ahli joined Al Nasr in the 2020-21 Arabian Gulf Cup final after outclassing Al Wasl 3-1 at Rashid Stadium on Tuesday night to wrap up a 5-1 aggregate triumph.
The home side held the upper hand at the beginning of the match, thanks to a 2-0 advantage in the first leg at Zabeel Stadium.
Shabab Al Ahli got off to the perfect start when Federico Cartabia buried a superb diving header past Al Wasl keeper Sultan Al Manthari after an Jaloliddin Masharipov’s inch-perfect cross in the 11th minute. The early goal further complicated Al Wasl’s chances of making a comeback as they were now trailing 3-0 on aggregate.
The visitors came close to reducing the deficit midway through the first half, but Abdulrahman Ali's powerful strike was matched by a fine save from Shabab Al Ahli keeper Majed Naser.
Cartabia doubled Shabab Al Ahli’s lead in the 52nd minute when he connected to Carlos Eduardo’s pass and tapped a left-footed effort into the far corner. The hosts put the win beyond doubt 10 minutes later when Igor Jesus rose highest to head Masharipov’s corner into the net.
Naser was called into action in the 67th minute when he palmed away Fabio Lima’s free-kick. Lima, however, got his name onto the score sheet less than five minutes later. Al Wasl were awarded a penalty after reviewing the VAR and the 27-year-old midfielder stepped up and converted from the spot to reduce the deficit, but it was too little too late.
To add insult to injury, Al Wasl were reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute after Ali Salmeen was sent off for a second booking.
Shabab Al Ahli advanced to the Arabian Gulf Cup final for a record-extending sixth time and for the third time in a row. They will face Al Nasr on April 6th in a repeat of the 2019 final, which saw the Blues claim the title with a 2-1 victory.