Sharjah are 'The King' as they clinch Super Cup
Shabab Al Ahli's Waled Husain Hassan (right) vies with Sharjah's Igor Coronado during the Arabian Gulf Super Cup match on Saturday. - Courtesy AGL
Dubai - Nothing separated both the clubs on a sweltering Saturday night as 90 minutes and 12 minutes of stoppage time in either half ended without a goal. And nothing separated them during the penalties with both going neck to neck before Ryan Mendes fired the winning spot kick to spark celebrations at the Al Maktoum Stadium.
Sharjah started the new season how they ended the previous one - with a title. The Arabian Gulf League champions got the better of Shahab Al Ahli to win their second Arabian Gulf Super Cup title and the first in the professional era.
Nothing separated both the clubs on a sweltering Saturday night as 90 minutes and 12 minutes of stoppage time in either half ended without a goal.
And nothing separated them during the penalties with both going neck to neck before Ryan Mendes fired the winning spot kick to spark celebrations at the Al Maktoum Stadium.
Sharjah, who had previously triumphed prior to the professional era in 1993, won 4-3.
Under muggy conditions, it was the Red Knights who threw the early punches but the first half lacked flow with too many interruptions because of a flurry of unnecessary fouls.
One of those fouls tamed Alhasan Saleh after the left-back elbowed Abdulaziz Haikal near the corner flag, on the half hour.
Shabab Al Ahli had the first crack just after kick-off with Henrique Luvannor making a foray down the right and crossed. But Davide Graziano Mariani blazed it just wide of the post.
They had another opportunity, 10 minutes in, after Luvannor found himself in a good position following a long cross from the left but he couldn't quite control it after making the run. And it was cleared to safety by the defenders who shadowed Luvannor.
The Red Knights looked dangerous but Sharjah conjured a good move on 18 minutes with Uzbekistan's Otabek Shukurov at the centre of it.
Shukurov played a neat ball to Ryan Mendes and the latter built it up and passed to Igor Coronado, who relayed it to Ricardo Gomes. But the attack was nipped in the bud by the Shabab Al Ahli backline.
Shukurov came up with another good ball to Coronado this time, on 26 minutes. The Brazilian then darted in and took a swipe but his grounder was safely collected by shot stopper Majed Naser.
Sharjah were dealt a major blow and had to play with just 10 men for the remainder of the hour after Saleh was sent off following a direct red card. Referee Mohammed Khadim made a late VAR referral and after viewing footage, gave the left-back, his marching orders.
The King could have been further reduced to nine men on 43 minutes after Shaheen Abdulla went high and stuck his right boot in Haikal but the Sharjah captain escaped with just a yellow.
Shabab Al Ahli went close in stoppage time when new signing Leonardo, who arrived from Al Wahda, made a clever first touch inside the box, that lobbed to Mohammed Juma. But Sharjah goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani came up with a brilliant save from close range.
The Red Knights thought they were denied a penalty just past the hour when Juma went down to Shaheen Abdulla inside the box after making a foray from the left. But the referee instead dished out a yellow to Juma for play acting.
Much later, on 72 minutes, Leonardo came up with a scorcher from the edge of the box but it screamed past a tad wide of the far post.
At the other end, Mendes nutmegged Walid Abbas but the ball had too much power and Naser got to it before the former could.