Sharjah go top after victory over Kalba

Sharjah go top after victory over Kalba
Sharjah players celebrate after a goal against Ittihad Kalba in the Arabian Gulf League. - AGL

Dubai - Bani Yas hold Al Dhafra to a 1-1 stalemate

By James Jose

Published: Thu 26 Sep 2019, 9:45 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Sep 2019, 11:49 PM

Defending champions Sharjah went top of the Arabian Gulf League table, temporarily at least, after seeing off Ittihad Kalba, in early fixtures played on Thursday night.
Sharjah, who had endured a 23-year wait to clinch the League, won 3-1 at the Kalba Union Sports & Cultural Club Stadium.
Ricardo Gomes, Igor Coronado and Abdulla Ghanim Juma were on target for 'The King,' while Peniel Mlapa, who was impressive for the second successive game, reduced the deficit for 'The Tigers.'
Sharjah, who had strung together a red-hot streak of 23 wins to winning their sixth League since 1995-96, are perched on the top with six points from two matches.
But things are likely to change with second-placed Shabab Al Ahli, Al Jazira and Al Ain, in second and third respectively on goal difference, all in action later.
Shabab Al Ahli welcome Fujairah at the Rashid Stadium, while Al Jazira and Al Wahda face-off in the Abu Dhabi Derby, on Saturday.
Elsewhere, on Thursday, Bani Yas rallied from a goal down to earn a stalemate over Al Dhafra at the Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Stadium.
Al Dhafra, known as 'The Western Knights,' went ahead through Joao Pedro on 36 minutes but the 'Sky Blues' cancelled that out through Luiz Antonio, on the hour.
Meanwhile, Sharjah began well and were up and running on 17 minutes through Ricardo Gomes. But Mlapa, who was Kalba's standout player, having scored a brace against Al Ain last week, levelled things up on the half-hour.
But the visitors nudged ahead again with Coronado, adjudged the Best Foreign Player at the AGL Awards last season, giving them the lead on 41 minutes. Abdulla Ghanim Juma then put daylight between them and the hosts, heading home from close range, for the third on 68 minutes.
Kalba desperately tried to reduce the margin with Majid Rashid coming close on 71 minutes. But goalkeeper Ahmed Mahmoud dived full length to his right to get a touch on Rashid's curling shot.
They had another opportunity on 77 minutes when Otabek Shukurov felled substitute Walid Amber just on the edge of the box. Yaseen Bakheet, though, saw his freekick just whiz past the far post.

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