Gulf News

Al Wasl slip-ups windfall for rivals

The next six matches will play a crucial role in deciding the First Division championsh­ip race

- BY SAYED ALI Staff Reporter

Al Wasl’s lead in the First Division League is in jeopardy, following the loss of five points in two matches. They were beaten by Al Shaab 5-2 and were subsequent­ly held to a 2-2 draw at home by Al Shabab last Monday.

Al Wahda, who are second with 30 points, one less than Al Wasl, will play on Sunday against Al Ain in an away match. If Al Wahda win, they emerge as the leaders.

Al Wasl’s current status as leaders is not only threatened by Al Wahda, but Al Jazira (29 points) and Al Shaab (28) are also hot on Al Wasl’s pursuit. Both the clubs scored important wins in the 16th stage of the competitio­n. Al Jazira won 3 valuable points with their 1-0 win over Fujairah 1-0, while Al Shaab won the Sharjah local derby after defeating city rivals Sharjah 2-1.

The remaining six games will be crucial for all these clubs to decide the league championsh­ip. Any defeat or loss of points will cost a side dear and dent their hopes of winning the title.

The Al Wasl players showed poor form against Al Shabab in the first half in which they were left trailing 2-0. Al Shabab, who were outstandin­g in the first session — despite missing the services of their two foreign players, who were out with suspension­s — could have scored more goals had Salim Sa’ad not missed the chances that came his way.

The changes made by Al Wasl’s Brazilian coach Ze Mario in the second half and the excellent form of custodian Majid Nasser, helped Al Wasl avoid an embarrassm­ent at home.

The clash between Al Wahda and Al Wasl next week in Abu Dhabi will help decide the title race to a large extent. If Al Wahda manage to beat Al Ain on Teams PWD L F A Pts Al Wasl 16 8 7 1 30 21 31 Al Wahda 15 9 3 3 27 21 30 Al Jazira 16 9 2 5 31 17 29 Al Shaab 16 8 44 33 24 28 Sharjah 16 6 5 5 24 23 23 Al Ahli 16 7 - 9 22 23 21 Al Ain 15 5 5 5 17 18 20 Al Nasr 16 5 5 6 20 22 20 Shabab 16 5 4 7 23 27 19 Dubai 16 4 48 26 32 16 Emirates 16 3 4 9 17 31 13 Fujairah 16 3 3 10 20 31 12 Matches of the 17th stage: April 15: Al Ain v Al Wahda. April 19: Al Shaab v Fujairah; Al Wahda v Al Wasl; Al Nasr v Al Ain. April 20: Emirates v Dubai; Al Shabab v Sharjah; Al Jazira v Al Ahli.

Bouncing back

Meanwhile, Al Nasr returned to winning ways, defeating Dubai 4-1 at Al Aweer. It was a very important for Al Nasr to help pull themselves away from the relegation zone. Al Ahli also jumped to the sixth place after beating Emirates 2-0 to sail into safe waters.

The three clubs at the bottom — Dubai, Emirates and Fujairah — have to work hard to stay in the top flight. Two of these teams will be relegated.

 ?? ATIQ-UR-REHMAN/Gulf News ?? Action during the match between Al Wasl and Al Shabab during the Etisalat First Division Football League at Al Wasl ground. Al Shabab held the league leaders 2-2 — a result that has increased the possibilit­y of Al Wasl’s nearest rivals to catch up with...
ATIQ-UR-REHMAN/Gulf News Action during the match between Al Wasl and Al Shabab during the Etisalat First Division Football League at Al Wasl ground. Al Shabab held the league leaders 2-2 — a result that has increased the possibilit­y of Al Wasl’s nearest rivals to catch up with...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Arab Emirates