Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Al Shaab's hope for a drawing at least a point went out with Michael N'dri, left, as Mohammed Marzooq and Al Shabab rode Edgar Bruno's 68th-minute goal to victory. Afsal Sham / Al Ittihad
Al Shaab's hope for a drawing at least a point went out with Michael N'dri, left, as Mohammed Marzooq and Al Shabab rode Edgar Bruno's 68th-minute goal to victory.  Afsal Sham / Al Ittihad

Head’s up Bruno lifts Al Shabab closer to Al Ahli

Arabian Gulf League leaders Al Ahli should remain wary of their nearest neighbours after Al Shabab took another three points to stay within reach of them at the top.

AL SHABAB 1 AL SHAAB 0

Al Shabab - Edgar Bruno 68’

Man of the Match - Azizbek Haydarov (Al Shabab)

Paul Radley

DUBAI // Accepted wisdom says that champion sides always eke out a positive result even when playing below their best.

By that reckoning, league leaders Al Ahli should remain wary of their nearest neighbours after Al Shabab took another three points on Friday night to stay within reach of them at the top of the Arabian Gulf League.

They eventually disposed of lowly Al Shaab at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.

But to call it an ugly win is underplaying it.

This match would have lost a beauty to contest against either of Cinderella’s sisters.

“Today the most important thing was the three points,” said Marcos Paqueta, the Shabab manager, whose side remain six points behind Ahli.

“It wasn’t our day. We dominated the possession and the chances but we couldn’t translate it into goals.

“My players deserve credit for the way they persisted.”

The Brazilian coach, who is overseeing an unheralded title challenge at the Mamzar club, reckons his side have become victims of their own success.

“It is not us whose performances have degraded – the other teams are playing differently against us now,” Paqueta said.

“When teams play with eight or nine players behind the ball, and two centre defenders who are more than two metres tall, it is very difficult to penetrate.

“We scored a late goal here. If we had scored earlier, maybe it would have been a more open game.”

These two sides might only be separated by a few miles and a lone consonant, but there was a significant gulf in class between them here.

Shabab were basically playing attack versus defence from the point when Michael N’dri, the away side’s only serious goal threat, hobbled off.

He crumpled under a challenge after half an hour and was substituted.

N’dri sat in the stands in his going-out clothes before the second half had started.

Shaab were toothless from then on, but they did prove difficult to break down thanks to the doughty defence of Spencer Silva Lima.

Paqueta moved to break the deadlock when he removed Adel Abdullah, the defensive midfielder, who had arguably been the game’s best player until that point, after 65 minutes.

The tactical alteration was immediately effective.

Within two minutes, the hosts had the lead when Edgar Bruno headed in Dawood Ali’s left-wing cross.

Zeljko Petrovic, the Shaab manager, was fulsome in his praise of the endeavor of his players.

But he fears his meagre resources are now being stretched to their limit as they battle to avoid the drop.

“Our mentality and effort was perfect, but we missed Michael,” Petrovic said of the early loss of N’dri.

“Every game is a difficult game for us and today we lost against a better team.

“My only preoccupation is that I only have one striker – Michael. If something happens to him, we might as well all go home.

“I hope it isn’t a big injury because it will be problematic if we are without him.”

pradley@thenational.ae

OTHER RESULTS

*

SHARJAH 3 DUBAI 0

*

It took until the second half to break down a stubborn Dubai, but Sharjah came out on top with a 3-0 win.

Yousif Saeed Juma and Ahmed Khamis’ goals plus a Salem Khamis penalty handed victory to the hosts, moving them level on 33 points with Al Jazira.

Dubai remain in last place on just nine points.

Sharjah got their noses in front in the second half, taking the lead in the 73rd minute through Juma. Six minutes later Sharjah were awarded a penalty after Ali Al Dhaheri felled Omar Juma in the area, and Salem Khamis stepped up to convert a confident spot kick.

Ahmed Khamis completed the scoring with Sharjah’s third, overcoming several blocks before squeezing a finish into the net from close range.

*

*

AL WASL 0 AJMAN 1

*

Waheed Ismail and the Al Wasl defence did their best to frustrate but Mansour Mohamed Abbas’s goal at the 37th minute gave all three points to the visitors on Friday night.

*

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National