Hatta boy: Makhete Diop net­ted twice as life for Shabab Al Ahli Dubai got off to a per­fect start. A brave new world

Merged Shabab Al Ahli Dubai be­gin AGL life with thump­ing Hatta win

Sport360 - - Regional Arabian Gulf League - By Matt Mon­aghan @mattmon­aghan360 mattmon­aghan@sport360.com

Makhete Diop was the hero for the new Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club last night, his brace for the merged out­fit help­ing earn a win­ning start in the Ara­bian Gulf League.

A new re­al­ity was at play on the fields of Rashid Sta­dium, the im­pact of May’s shock merger between Al Shabab, peren­nial chal­lengers Al Ahli and pro­moted Dubai CSC made real as the top flight got un­der way. This side patched to­gether by ex-Red Knights supremo Cos­min Olaroiu – cov­eted by the UAE for their va­cant coach­ing post – from seven Ahli and four Shabab starters had its com­pos­ite parts to thank for a vic­tory made more try­ing by Hatta’s early penalty, won and con­verted by Brazil­ian for­ward Sa­muel Rosa.

Yet in Sene­gal tar­get man Diop they pos­sess a marks­man of rare qual­ity – he now boasts 11 goals in 14 AGL games since De­cem­ber’s prof­itable switch from Al Dhafra.

The for­mer Ahli man’s strikes were re­in­forced by UAE cen­tre­back Mo­hammed Mar­zooq’s bun­dled ef­fort straight af­ter the break which put the hosts in front for the first time. His ex-Shabab team-mate To­mas De Vin­centi volleyed in a fine fourth at the death.

For Hatta, the dis­par­ity between them was not ac­cu­rately re­flected by the score line. A pro­moted side who went on to make last term’s Pres­i­dent’s Cup semi-fi­nals and were never at risk of rel­e­ga­tion ap­pear ca­pa­ble of gate­crash­ing mid-ta­ble this time.

A stale open­ing came to life when Shabab Al Ahli cen­tre­back Salmeen Khamis was ad­judged to have han­dled Rosa’s low cross. The Brazil­ian him­self stepped up to get off the mark this term.

The newly com­bined out­fit dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion with­out truly threat­en­ing. This was un­til right-back Ab­du­laziz Haikal’s chip for­ward was chested down and halfvolleyed home by Diop.

The dead­lock at the break was bro­ken in com­i­cal style. De Vin­centi’s free-kick was fum­bled by goal­keeper Obaid Thani into Mar­zooq’s path, for a rare goal.

Diop stroked the ball into the bot­tom cor­ner af­ter fine wing play by Moldova for­ward Hen­rique Lu­van­nor. De Vin­centi then pro­vided an eye-catch­ing fi­nal flour­ish from the edge of the area.

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