Asamoah Gyan will be heading to his native Ghana today to be with his grieving family following the death of his mother Cecilia Love Amoako after a car crash.
He opened the scoring with a penalty he earned himself when he was felled by Walid Abbas and regained the lead with a superb shot after Ciel, the Brazilian forward, had struck the equalised for the home side shortly after the break.
Ismail Ahmed, the Al Ain defender, added a third from a corner the Shabab defence failed to clear to ensure the Garden City club returned with three points.
Ciel reduced the lead with an injury time penalty awarded when Khaled Abdulrahman brought the Brazilian down but it was too late for the Dubai club to fight their way back.
Gyan's teammates paid tribute to the recently appointed Ghana captain, who took his league tally to 14 goals from seven games.
"It takes a lot of courage for anyone in Gyan's position to play in this important match for us," Helal Saeed, the Al Ain midfielder said before the game.
"He is a match winner for us. His commitment at a time of grief is just incredible. His presence on the pitch is invaluable and the best motivation for us."
Al Ain were the more creative and attacking side, particularly in the first half. However, they failed to convert many of the chances they created.
Gyan was in the thick of the action in their attack and he was denied when Ismail Rabee, the Shabab goalkeeper, did well to deflect a stinging shot from just outside the box.
The Ghanaian was unlucky again when his effort ricocheted off the bar on the half hour after Alex Brosque had set him up in front of the goal.
Gyan was then felled by an ugly tackle by Mohammed Marzooq, the Shabab defender who was lucky to get away with a yellow card, when he was cruising with ball towards the penalty area.
Rabee again came to Shabab's rescue, pushing out Omar Abdulrahman's dipping free kick from the edge of the box.
But the main focus of attention was Gyan, whose mother died in hospital, in Accra, on Tuesday.
The Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi, the assistant coach Maxwell Konadu and other officials visited the family home to offer their condolences and pay tribute to Amoako, whose other son, Baffour Gyan, also played for Ghana's national team as a striker.
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