Shabab scrape home

Luvannor steals the show as team score 1-0 win over Bani Yas

By Alex Leach - Senior Reporter

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Published: Sun 15 Mar 2015, 1:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:56 PM

Yousef Jaber of Bani Yas heads the ball to clear an attempt by Al Shabab players during their AGL match at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Friday. — KT photo by Mukesh Kamal

 Dubai — Al Shabab moved to within six points of league leaders Al Ain at the top of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) table with this narrow 1-0 victory over Bani Yas.

With The Boss having dropped two points at Al Dhafra around an hour before the Shabab vs Bani Yas kick-off, Caio Junior’s Hawks took to the field with a gilt-edged opportunity to close the then nine-point gap on the summit sitters.

They took that chance too as Henrique Luvannor’s 36th-minute strike proved sufficient to beat a Sky Blues XI that didn’t pose much of an offensive threat throughout the 90 minutes at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium here on Friday evening.

More importantly perhaps though, Shabab’s success opened up an identical margin between themselves and Al Nasr in fifth place, thereby shoring up their increasingly concrete claims for a top-four finish.

Edgar Bruno Da Silva, Carlos Villanueva and Luvannor all came close to breaking the deadlock in the first half before the latter eventually did so nine minutes before the break.

Goalkeeper Salem Abdulla punted the ball long downfield and the route one pass evaded everyone except the marauding Moldovan, who rounded Mohsin Al Hashmi and found the net from an acute angle near the dead-ball line.

Spanish centre-back Angel Dealbert should really have cut out Luvannor’s low finish, but he couldn’t organise his fumbling feet quick enough to stop the strike at the near post and was embarrassingly nutmegged in the end.

Luis Garcia made two changes to his Bani Yas side inside the first 10 minutes of the second period, bringing on Saleh Al Menhali and Fawaz Awana for Imad Khalili an Ahmed Haboush respectively.

Those substitutions only began to have a bearing towards the latter stages nonetheless and it was Shabab who threatened a second through Da Silva and Luvannor before Bani Yas mounted a belated backlash.

Home custodian Abdulla and defenders Mohammed Marzooq and Essa Mohammed marshalled Denis Stracqualursi superbly nevertheless to hold on for the win and three points.

Stracqualursi has now only scored once in his last nine AGL outings and — in turn — Bani Yas have lost four encounters on the bounce.


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