Baniyas 3 // Al Ain 0
Baniyas Senghor 38’, 64’, Basheer 62’
Man of the match Andre Senghor (Baniyas)
BANIYAS // Andre Senghor showed Al Ain, his former club, what they are missing with two goals last night in an emphatic win to move Baniyas up to second in the table.
The Senegalese striker joined Al Ain in 2006 as a 20-year-old, but was sent out on loan spells to clubs in Syria and Morocco in a bid to hone his raw talent.
He returned to Al Ain for the 2008 season, but despite scoring a number of important goals for the club, it became clear that he was way down the pecking order of foreign players, with the likes of Jorge Valdivia, Emerson and Jose Sand ahead of him at the time.
With no obvious future in Al Ain, he moved to Abu Dhabi rivals Baniyas last season where he has flourished. A tally of 13 goals last season helped the promoted club to fourth place in the Pro League and they are proving that was no fluke this campaign with four wins from six games.
Senghor's double last night put him out on his own as the Pro League's top scorer, while sticking the boot into his former employers. Al Ain, the most decorated club in the UAE, languish in seventh.
Lutfi al Benzarti, the Baniyas coach, admitted the comprehensive victory was unexpected, especially since Baniyas lost 4-0 away to Al Jazira a fortnight ago. "Al Ain had some clear problems at the back and that gave us the advantage," said al Benzarti. "They are a young side and we didn't allow them space in our area. We were not so lucky against Jazira but we were better organised in defence and made Al Ain pay for their mistakes.
"Every game has a turning point and it was the second goal from Al Ain's mistake that changed the game in our favour. Fawzi [Basheer] capitalised on that mistake and then Senghor made it easier for us with a third." Senghor opened the scoring in the 38th minute and scored his double two minutes after Basheer, the Oman international, had struck the second just past the hour mark in front of a crowd of 4,656 spectators.
Basheer pounced on a defensive mistake from Ismail Ahmed, who first failed to clear the ball and twith his second attempt merely succeeded in lobbing a pass straight into Basheer's path.
The visitors could have grabbed a consolation in injury time but Fares Juma's effort crashed against the bar.
"We made a few individual mistakes at the back and Baniyas capitalised on that to score," said Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, the Al Ain coach. "I don't blame any player because mistakes happen ... It would have been different had we taken the couple of early chances and scored. One team must win and one must lose. It was not our day to win."
Al Dhafra 0 // Al Jazira 1
Ibrahim Diaky scored his third goal in two games for Al Jazira took full points away at Al Dhafra to go top of the league. Diaky connected a with a cross from the left by Matias Delgado, the Argentine midfielder, from outside the area to beat Mohammed Hussain al Tamimi, the Dhafra goalkeeper. The 25th-minute strike was enough to seal a 1-0 victory.
Al Wasl v Kalba
Sergio Farias, Al Wasl’s Brazilian coach, hopes his side can regain the Pro League lead when they host Kalba in tonight’s early game. Kalba are second last in the table with a point which they earned from a draw against Al Ahli at home. The promoted club face a massive task against a side that has won four of their five games, the last being a resounding 3-0 away thumping of Al Shabab, to take their tally to 12 points.
5.10pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 1
Sharjah v Al Shabab
with their tails up after inflicting the first defeat of the season on Al Jazira last Sunday in the Etisalat Cup. “The league is different to the cup game, but a win against Jazira is a great confidence-booster to the players,” said Paulo Bonamigo, their coach. The Dubai club will have to improve on their league form when they face a team five points ahead of them and who have shown remarkable improvement.
8pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 1