(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Al jazira win leaves red knights needing just a point from four games for glory
Al ahli players try to gain possession of the ball during the tie against al jazira at the mohammed bin zayed stadium in abu dhbai. — kt photo by nezar balout
Al ahli have one hand on a sixth league title and their first instalment of a treble after a convincing win over al jazira in the arabian gulf league at the mohammed bin zayed stadium late on sunday night.
The 3-1 victory leaves the red knights needing just a point from the remaining four games and they can wrap it up with a perfect ending when they host city rivals al wasl at the rashid stadium on thursday. al ahli are 12 points ahead of second-placed al shabab who were dealt a blow after suffering their second successive loss when they went down to al wahda. al ahli have 54 points followed by al shabab with 48 points. al jazira are third with 38 followed by city rivals al wahda with 36 points.
If they do put it past floundering al wasl it will be al ahli’s first league title in five years after they last won it in the 2008-09 season. and it could also be the perfect season for al ahli as they are in line for a treble. apart from the arabian gulf league al ahli are in the final of the arabian gulf cup where they meet al jazira and the prestigious president’s cup final where they take on al ain. the dubai club are also in contention for a spot in the afc champions league round of 16.
Ahmed khalil basheer saeed and grafite scored for al ahli while jucilei pulled one back for al jazira. al ahli had the first look at goal as early as the second minute when grafite got past his marker and passed it to ahmed khalil. but khalil dlled it over the cross bar from close range.
Al jazira thought that they had taken the lead on seven minutes after ali ahmed mabkhout had shot home but the referee disallowed the goal as the uae striker had controlled the ball with his arm. ali mabkhout came close again on 30 minutes after his curling effort slipped past goalkeeper saif yousif. but the ball just went wide of the far post. al jazira had another opportunity when they went on the counter but juma abdulla flashed it wide.
Al ahli came close through grafite but his attempt didn’t have any dip as it sailed over the cross bar. but al ahli did go ahead on 38 minutes through ahmed khalil who latched onto a through pass from humaid abbas and put it past goalkeeper ali khaseif. al ahli added the second two minutes later through basheer saeed who sent his left-footer home from a ismail al hammadi corner. they could have added a third before the break but humaid abbas’ attempt was brilliantly saved by ali khasief.
Al ahli got the third six minutes after the restart after they were awarded a penalty. abdelaziz barrada brought down ahmed khalil inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. and grafite made no mistake with the spot kick.
Al jazira came close to reducing the deficit minutes later when khalid sabeel sent a fine cross but ali mabkhout failed to make contact. al ahli still had enough gas left and could have got the fourth when ismail al hammadi sent a nice through ball for humaid abbas who passed it to grafite. but the brazilian’s shot was saved by ali khasief.
Al jazira reduced the margin with two minutes left on the clock through jucilei who scored after a barrada freeekick. but it was as good as over for al jazira.