Peniel Mlapa, Makhete Diop, & Fabio Lima scored braces for their respective sides
Al-Ittihad registered a thumping 3-0 win over Fujairah courtesy of a superlative second-half performance away from home in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on matchday 18.
Meanwhile, Al-Dhafra shocked heavyweights Al-Ain 2-1 at Al-Dhafra stadium. Whereas, Al Wasl had to settle with a point after drawing 2-2 with Al Wahda at the Zabeel stadium.
Ittihad’s Mlapa in fine form
Just before the halftime break, Peniel Mlapa opened the scoring from the spot for Ittihad after the referee spotted a handball inside the box. They did not have to wait long for their second goal as within eight minutes in the second half Mohamed Sabeel scored the insurance goal.
Ittihad continued their domination and it was keeper Saleh Rabei’s heroics that prevented Fujairah from a humiliation. However, Rabei could not stop Mlapa from scoring the second of the night in the 87th minute who had been in good form throughout the match.
Bani Yas gets a breather as Al-Ain lose
Whereas, Al-Ain could not keep up the pressure on Bani Yas for the third-place as they went down quite uncharacteristically to 10th-placed Al Dhafra. Makhete Diop scored in each half at Hamdan Bin Zayed Stadium to earn three valuable points for his side.
In the 34th minute, the Senegalese forward broke the deadlock as he rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net beyond the reach of the goalkeeper. Al-Ain started played with more purpose after conceding and in the 50th minute equalised from the spot through Laba Kodjo.
Seven minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty but could not make the most of it as Pedro Conde’s effort struck the woodwork. But Al-Ain continued to be generous with giving away penalties and this time Diop shouldered the responsibility with maximum precision.
This win ended Al-Dhafra’s seven-game winless streak and now have 20 points in their kitty.
Al-Wasl’s Fabio Lima temporarily displace Ali Mabkhout in the golden boot race
In the third match, Fabio Lima was the star for Al Wasl as he scored two goals to temporarily go top of the goalscoring charts with 16 goals to his name. Lima was quick to give his team the lead when he scored from 12 yards in the eighth minute. But, Wahda’s Myung-joo Lee erased the deficit three minutes from half-time to change the dynamics of the game.
Al-Wahda were reduced to 10-men when Ruben Amaral was sent off for a rash challenge and Lima restored the lead from the spot. However, Vuk Rasovic’s men showed character and found the equaliser on the 82nd minute through Omar Khribin.
After a 3-0 win, Al-Ittihad stand in ninth place with 26 points, while Fujairah is staring towards dropping in the relegation zone as they stand 12th with 10 points.
AL-Ain continue to be in fourth place with 30 points while Al-Dhafra are 10th with 20 points.
After the draw, Al Wasl and Al-Wahda both sit on 28 points from 18 matches. However, courtesy of a better head-to-head Al Wahda sit seventh and Al Wasl on eighth.