Title chasers Al Ain, Al Wahda and Sharjah collected maximum points while fourth-placed Shabab Al Ahli dropped points in matchweek 15 of the ADNOC Pro League.
With Al Jazira’s game against Ittihad Kalba postponed until mid-March due to the former’s participation in the FIFA Club World Cup, matchweek 15 is on track to become the lowest-scoring of this season’s ADNOC Pro League, unless the two sides could produce four goals or more when they face-off.
The three games on the opening day saw just three goals scored despite a total of 66 shots attempted, an average of 11 shots per team. Accuracy was lacking with only 23 of those shots being on target.
Sharjah - Al Dhafra
Ousmane Camara scored the only goal of the night in a 1-0 home win for Sharjah, but the game had the highest number of shots on target in matchweek 15 with Al Dhafra hitting six shots on target to Sharjah’s five.
The hosts enjoyed 56% of possession and Brazilian winger Caio Lucas was his side’s most productive player, creating six chances including the assist for Camara’s goal.
New Al Dhafra signing Guilherme Augusto had a promising debut, producing three goal-scoring chances, swinging in 11 crosses, and firing two shots on target.
Khorfakkan - Al Wasl
Michel Araújo's second-half strike was enough for Al Wasl to secure a 1-0 win over ten-man Khorfakkan at Saqr bin Mohammad Al Qassimi Stadium.
The visitors dominated, producing five shots on target while Dudu had Khorfakkan’s two efforts on goal.
Araújo’s good outing was not limited to scoring the winner, the Uruguayan won 11 out of 15 duels and succeeded in all three of his attempted interceptions.
Bani Yas - Al Wahda
A first-half header from center-back Fares Juma settled an otherwise uneventful derby.
The visitors scored their only goal of the night from four shots on target, while the hosts produced only one shot on goal out of six efforts.
Al Wahda enjoyed the bulk of possession (63%), as their midfielder Tahnoon Al Zaabi created four chances including the assist.
Brazilian forward Joao Pedro had two efforts on target while his attack partner Omar Khrbin had just one.
Emirates - Al Ain
In 90 minutes at Emirates Club Stadium, Al Ain scored as many goals as the six teams combined produced the previous day.
Al Ain signalled their attacking intent from the start, keeping two-thirds of the possession and producing six shots within the opening quarter of an hour.
Colombian defender Danilo Arboleda got on the scoresheet but also had the most touches (80) and most passes (69) among his teammates.
The ADNOC Pro League top scorer Laba Kodjo fired six shots, four of which were on target, and was rewarded for his persistence with a goal.
Argentine playmaker Cristian Guanca did what he does best, producing an assist and creating eight more chances.
Al Orooba - Al Nasr
Al Nasr looked set for a comfortable victory after taking the lead and keeping 64% of possession in the first half, but Al Orooba bounced back to take control in the second half, keeping the ball 57% of the time and were rewarded with a late equaliser from Mohamed Khalfan.
Full time stats showed parity not only in goals, but also in shots taken (11) and those finding the target (4).
Youngster Gianluca Muniz impressed defensively for Al Orooba, winning each of his eight attempted interceptions as well as making eight clearances.
Ajman - Shabab Al Ahli
A cagey affair at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium concluded the matchweek with Shabab Al Ahli and Ajman sharing the spoils.
Shabab Al Ahli produced four efforts on target, compared to three for Ajman.
Tunisian midfielder Firas Ben Larbi left his scoring boots at home, failing to fire any efforts, while he created two chances.
Iranian international midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi was his side’s most dangerous player and was rewarded for his efforts with a goal.