x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Wahda 2 Al Ahli 6

Grafite led a goal spree as Al Ahli demolished Al Wahda to inflict the heaviest defeat of the season on the Abu Dhabi club. Round-up

Grafite scored four goals for Al Ahli.
Grafite scored four goals for Al Ahli.

ABU DHABI // Grafite led a goal spree as Al Ahli demolished Al Wahda to inflict the heaviest defeat of the season on the Abu Dhabi club.

The former Wolfsburg striker scored four of his team's six goals, opening the scoring on 24 minutes before a second-half hat-trick sealed the rout at Al Nahyan Stadium, taking the Brazilian's Pro League tally to 16 for the season.

The win was marred by the sending off of Amir Mubarak for a second yellow card, but it was a minor blip in what was a dominant Al Ahli performance against the four-time league champions.

Grafite tapped in a cross from Luis Jimenez to break the deadlock, headed home a cross from Yousuf Mohammed for his second, broke the offside trap following a swift counter-attack for his third and was on hand to convert a Majed Hassan pass to round off an emphatic win.

Wahda looked to be making a fist of things when Papa Waigo headed in a corner from Srdan Andric to cancel out Grafite's opener on 34 minutes but the match was beyond their reach by the time he found the target with his second eight minutes from time.

Ahli went into the break 3-1 up thanks to further goals from Jimenez and Achille Emana.

Grafite robbed Eisa Ahmed, the Wahda defender, of the ball and slipped a pass to Jimenez for the Chile midfielder to send a low shot from 25 yards out into the corner of the net.

Wahda were reeling when, from their own kick off, they conceded a third as Emana scored at the second attempt after Adel Al Hosani, the Wahda goalkeeper, made an initial save.

Wahda were without the services of their influential forward Ismail Matar. Without the captain, who has travelled to Germany for treatment on a troubled knee, they lacked a cutting edge up front, prompting Branko Ivankovic, the coach, to beef up his attack in the second half by bringing on the UAE international forward Saeed Al Kathiri.

But the change had minimal impact as the impressive Grafite completed his hat-trick with goals on 63 and 78 minutes.

By the time he scored his fourth and Ahli's sixth, most of the home support had long departed for the exits.

It was Wahda's second heavy defeat in the space of a week following their 4-1 loss to Al Nasr last Sunday. The victory moved Ahli up to third in the Pro League on 18 points, four off leaders Al Ain.

Dubai 2 Al Ain 5

Al Nasr 3 Dibba Al Fujairah 1

Meanwhile, Al Ain and Al Nasr maintained their position at the top of the Pro League after resounding victories over Dubai and Dibba Al Fujairah respectively.

Asamoah Gyan and Omar Abdulrahman grabbed a brace apiece while Alex Brosque was also on target for Al Ain in a 5-2 away win over Dubai.

Gyan gave the visitors a third-minute lead before Brosque doubled the advantage. Abdulrahman then scored twice before half time - the first a collector's item after a mesmerising run took him past a couple of defenders - his second rather more straightforward effort.

Gyan grabbed his second from the penalty spot in the second half to take his tally at the top of the scoring chart to 17 goals in nine games, as well as keeping the champions top of the league. Ali Hassan and Richard Porta scored either side of the break for Dubai.

Second-placed Nasr were given a real test at home by Dibba before easing to a 3-1 victory. Nasr took an early lead through Giuseppe Mascara but Luiz Fernando's strike past the hour-mark levelled proceedings. Bruno Correa regained the lead on 72 minutes and Humaid Abbas added a third 10 minutes from time.

Amara Diane scored an injury-time equaliser to rescue a point for Al Shaab against fellow promoted club Al Dhafra in a match that ended 2-2.

apassela@thenational.ae

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