(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Shaikh maktoum attends season-ending match as red knights cruise past 10-man dhafra
al hamadi of al ahli clears an attempt by al dhafra at rashid stadium. — kt photo by mukesh kamal
al ahli were crowned champions of the arabian gulf league for the sixth time of the club’s history following their 5-1 home victory over 10-man al dhafra in the 26th and final round of the competition at the rashid stadium here on sunday night.
the crowning ceremony was attended by shaikh maktoum bin mohammed bin rashid al maktoum deputy ruler of dubai and vice-chairman of the club yousuf yaqoub al serkal president of the uaefa abdulla al nabooda chairman of the al ahli club.
the trophy was carried through the (red carpet) by former al ahli skippers ahmed essa and hamdoon who have lifted the shield with the red knights in the seventies and eighties of the last century. the club’s acrobatic band performed beautiful shows under the colourful lights fireworks and lazer.
al ahli have raised their tally to 64 points from 26 starts including 20 wins four draws and two defeats a record which was an unprecedented record in the history of the competition. al ain and al wahda have scored 20 wins before but they did not hit 64 points which is a new league’s record to lead 13 points ahead of their runners-up al wahda.
humaid abbas put the red knights ahead in the 26th second from the start before ahmed khalil doubled the score-line in the 10th minute. hugo vianna added the third goal in the 45th minute to end the first half on a high note. kamel chafni scored the consolation goal for al dhafra in the 51st minute but ahmed khalil came again to strike from the spot in the 85th minute and luiz jimenez fired home the fifth goal in the 90th minute. however al dhafra were reduced to ten players after the referee has sent off their african striker makhete diop with a second yellow card.
the match was by all means a one-sided game from start to finish and the powerful dubai side have made their presence felt right from the kickoff. with less than 30 seconds on the clock ciel streamed down the right as he has done so often this season curling a perfect low cross into the area for the onrushing humaid abbas to tuck home calmly from close range and start the party early for al ahli. in the 9th minute it was 2-0 again set up by ciel who this time cut back from the goal-line on the left to set up a simple tap-in for ahmad khalil.
in the 13th minute with the champions running riot ciel tried to go it alone and successfully rounded the goalkeeper before missing the target with his shot from a tight angle. al dhafra suffered an injury blow as abdulraheem juma had to come off replaced by ahmed al musaabi but the substitution didn’t change anything as the hosts continued to pepper mohammad ghuloom’s goal with attacks.
the al ahli-dominated first half was marred by an injury to agl awards nominee majed hassan who had to be stretchered off and replaced by luis jimenez two minutes before the interval but the fans were celebrating again before the half-time whistle as al ahli went 3-0 up via a low curling free kick from hugo viana. six minutes after the restart al dhafra put a dampener on things as kamel chafni struck a sublime shot beyond saif yousif to make it 3-1 but moments later al ahli were almost to find the net again as luis jimenez’s toe-poke from a hugo viana corner was close to being bundled in by al dhafra’s goalkeeper but abdulsalam juma cleared off the line.
coach cosmin brought on grafite to a hero’s reception in the 65th minute replacing the scorer of the first goal humaid abbas and with ten minutes remaining ciel had to retire through injury and was substituted by salmeen khamis. al ahli were not about to wind down though as in the 85th minute they were awarded a penalty after some fine trickery from ismaeel al hamadi down the left resulted in jimenez being bundled over in the area.
ahmad khalil stepped up to thump the spot kick into the back of the net making it 4-1 with his second goal of the game. makhete diop had a late header ruled out for a foul on saif yousif and the al dhafra striker was shown a straight red card for his protestations in the aftermath. capping off the win with five stars luis jimenez thrashed a fine finish past ghuloom to make it 5-1 in the 90th minute.