x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Shabab turn on the style ahead of Bunyodkor clash

Riding on Mehrdad Oladi's brace Al Shabab cruise to a comfortable 6-0 win over 10-man Al Khaleej.

Riding on Mehrdad Oladi's brace Al Shabab cruised to a comfortable 6-0 win over a 10-man Al Khaleej in a 16th round match of the Pro League on Sunday night. The victory helped the defending champions leapfrog into fourth on the league table with 21 points, 15 behind leaders Al Ahli. It should also give them a massive boost ahead of Wednesday's AFC Champions League clash at home against Uzbekistan powerhouses Bunyodkor. Salem Saad, starting a game after a long stint on the sidelines, put the hosts ahead in the 40th minute with a typically swift finish. Oladi then doubled the tally in the 59th minute with an opportunistic volley and scored his second from a penalty eight minutes later after being brought down by the visiting goalkeeper Jaber Jassim. Bader Abdulrehman added the fourth in the 85th minute and seconds later substitute Mohammed Nasser got on the scoresheet as well. Waleed Abbas then completed the rout three minutes into injury time. Jassim received his marching orders for the infringement on Oladi, which brought down the curtain on an impressive performance between the posts. Shabab could have won by an even bigger scoreline, but for some good saves from the Khaleej custodian. Before his opener, Saad was thwarted twice - first by the horizontal bar in the 16th minute as he headed in a Marcos Assuncao floater and then by Jassim five minutes later when he volleyed in Badr Abdulrehman's cross. In the 40th minute, however, he sprinted past the defenders and placed the ball over the advancing Jassim for his first goal of the Pro League since the opening round. In the 55th minute, Jassim was outstanding as he dived to his left to fend away a scorching volley from Adel Abdulla. But four minutes later, he had no chance as Oladi pounced on a deflection and nailed it to his left. Eight minutes later, Oladi and Saad raced into the box and, with no defenders in sight, Jassim raced out and tripped the goal-bound Oladi. He got a red card for it and Shabab earned a penalty, which Oladi converted. Shabab then took advantage of their numerical superiority to add two more to their tally in the closing minutes. Badr Abdulrehman caught the Khaleej defence napping as he sprinted into the box in the 85th minute and he angled the ball past the substitute keeper Obaid Khamis. Nasser also had plenty of space as he ventured into the box a minute later and he slipped the ball past the hapless Khamis. Waleed Abbas then struck the final blow seconds before the final whistle.

arizvi@thenational.ae