x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Best is yet to come from Al Ahli in the Pro League

With Al Ain still to face Al Nasr before the second half of the season begins, expect Ahli to mount a strong title challenge going into 2013.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Oct 21, 2012, Al Ahli v Al Shabab, Al Rashid Stadium . Al Ahli's 23 Grafite (right) shoots on goal during action at Al Rashid Stadium Oct 21 2012. Mike Young / The National
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Oct 21, 2012, Al Ahli v Al Shabab, Al Rashid Stadium . Al Ahli's 23 Grafite (right) shoots on goal during action at Al Rashid Stadium Oct 21 2012. Mike Young / The National

On paper, Al Ahli could lay claim to having the best squad in the Pro League.

A former German footballer of the year and Bundesliga top scorer, Grafite. A Chilean playmaker who turned out for Inter Milan (and West Ham United), in Luis Jimenez.

Achille Emana, the Cameroon international midfielder, has more than 300 games combined in France and Spain's top flights. And captain Youssef Mohamad brings with him 44 international caps for Lebanon, having been a key figure in their surprise charge to the final stages of Asian World Cup qualifying.

That is just the foreign contingent.

Throw in the likes of Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil and Abdelaziz Sanqour, just some of Ahli's UAE internationals, and the Dubai club have a strong Emirati unit to back up the overseas quartet.

The reason Ahli trail leaders Al Ain by six points is a failure to convert draws in to wins at home. The 0-0 with Baniyas three weeks ago being a prime example. It could have easily been 5-0.

But when they click … well, look at the 6-3 thumping of Al Ain in September and the 6-2 thrashing of Al Wahda two weeks ago. Ahli should take maximum points from their next three games - Dibba Al Fujairah at home, Ajman away and Al Dhafra at home.

With Al Ain still to face Al Nasr before the second half of the season begins, expect Ahli to mount a strong title challenge going into 2013.

 

twoods@thenational.ae

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