Just a few days after it was reported by many UAE news outlets that Valeriu Tita, the Romanian coach, had been dismissed, his Sharjah club rode a lone goal by Edinho and a tenacious defensive effort to a 1-0 victory over Al Shabab on Tuesday night.
It was Sharjah's first league victory since October 28 and ended a three-game league losing streak during which they had leaked eight goals and fallen to 10th in the table, only two points from the bottom – the sort of predicament that often leads to an unemployed coach.
Television stations in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai had reported that Tita had been released and replaced by Ghazi Ghairi, who had been dismissed by Emirates last week, but Tita was prominent on the Sharjah sideline, and was at the centre of a group hug when the final whistle blew.
"I'm still coach of this team, and coach for these players," a defiant Tita said, "and I thank the board, who said it was a rumour, and it's not correct."
The defeat was the first in seven matches for Shabab, and the victory vaulted Sharjah past Baniyas in the Pro League table.
"This match was important for both Sharjah and Tita," the coach said. "It was a very difficult match for us, myself and the players. There was a lot of pressure on us. The players promised me they would play well today after the rumours of the last two days, and the players promised to give me a full effort.
"But when you are giving a good game, and doing well in the match, you are not giving it to me but to the Sharjah fans and Sharjah name. The three points from today are like oxygen for us."
Paulo Bonamigo, the Shabab manager, gave credit to Sharjah's dogged resistance.
"They marked very well and the didn't concede many changes to us not let us play in our style, which is to play with the ball," he said. "We knew it would be a very tough game, and all the players knew it would be very difficult, and especially when we play a team that is not in a good position in the table."
The only goal came in the 47th minute, when Edinho, the prolific Brazilian winger, blasted a 25-yard shot into the right side of the net.
"We thought this game could come down to a goal like that one, and Edinho is certainly known for that kind of goal," Bonamigo said.
"A deflection, a restart, something like that. Also, the pitch was very dry, and the ball bounced high, and it was hard for us to control it, and that worked to their advantage."
Shabab were unable to generate many real scoring chances, in part because Julio Cesar, the Brazilian forward, was suffering from the flu and played only 60 ineffective minutes.