Al Shabab leave it late

Al Shabab leave it late

Caio Junior’s side chalk up vital victory over Fujairah with Da Silva’s last-gasp heroics



By Alex Leach (senior Reporter)

Published: Mon 27 Apr 2015, 11:40 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:44 PM

Carlos Villanueva of Al Shabab and Ahmed Ali of Fujairah vie for the ball during the AGL match at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium. — KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

Carlos Villanueva of Al Shabab and Ahmed Ali of Fujairah vie for the ball during the AGL match at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium. — KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

Dubai — Al Shabab leapfrogged above Al Wahda and moved level on points alongside Al Jazira with his narrow 1-0 victory over Fujairah at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium here on Sunday evening.

Edgar Bruno Da Silva’s 86th-minute strike saw Caio Junior’s side register an all-important three points that could well go a long way to determining their qualification for the Asian Champions League (ACL) next season.

The hosts had the first sight of goal after 11 relatively uneventful minutes. Hassan Ibrahim’s right-sided centre sailed all of the way over to an unattended Azizbek Haydarov on the edge of the penalty area, where he unleashed a well-struck attempt that flashed narrowly wide of Mohamed Salem’s far post.

Haydarov was heavily involved in their second chance as well some three minutes later as his corner from the left byline found Da Silva completely free, yet his glancing header sailed off target with Salem out of position.

However, for all of Shabab’s early probing, they were indebted to Mohammed Marzooq for preventing Ivan Hasek’s goal-shy team from taking the lead midway through the opening half.

Khaleil Khameis and Saeed Rashid both beat home custodian Salem Abdulla with low efforts in quick succession, yet an alert Marzooq heroically cleared off the goal-line twice to preserve parity.

Those athletic interventions thwarted a rare moment of attacking intent from the visitors and Shabab were soon on the front foot again.

Al Shabab players celebrate a goal against Fujairah on Sunday

Al Shabab players celebrate a goal against Fujairah on Sunday

Dawood Ali broke down the right wing and crossed in for Henrique Luvannor to cushion a headed lay-off back to Carlos Villanueva.

The Chilean attack duly applied a crisp, first-time volley that appeared destined bulge in the back of the net, only for it to coming crashing back off of Salem’s crossbar.

That really was a lucky let-off for Fujairah and they received another fortuitous escape moments later.

Haydarov, Luvannor and Villanueva combined nicely to tee up the increasingly influential Uzbek midfielder, who haplessly drilled a rushed drive out of play with Salem’s goal gaping invitingly in front of him. Shabab boss Caio Junior introduced Eissa Obaid for Dawood Ali for the second period and Shabab’s new arrival wasted little time in making an impression and leaving a mark; two consecutive meaty challenges seeing him enter referee Mohamed Abdulla’s notebook only three minutes after the restart.

Fujairah’s Ibraheem Saeed was also cautioned by Adbulla and he was perhaps fortunate to avoid another yellow card and subsequent red one for an ill-timed foul on Luvannor.

Hasek, perhaps sensing an imminent dismissal, sensibly swapped Saeed for Humaid Robayya shortly thereafter.

Fujairah needed their full complement of players too as Shabab carried much the greater threat in this match.

Villanueva’s stinging strike drew a sharp save out of Salem with 20 minutes left on the clock and, moments later, Da Silva nodded down for Obaid to smash a first-time volley against the bar.

Hasek’s men could still have snatched the three points 15 minutes from full time. Boubacar Sanogo broke in behind the Shabab defence and teed up Hassan Maatouk, who seemed destined to score until Abdulla thrust out his left leg to deny him.

That stop proved vital too as, four minutes from the end, Luvannor delivered low into the box and Da Silva converted the winner clinically into the roof of Fujairah’s net.

alex@khaleejtimes.com


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