AGL Pick of the Week: Sharjah stunned by Ahmed Abunamous, Mahdi Ali suffers from an uncertain start

In an exciting game week 10, the title race of the Arabian Gulf League 2020/21 was breathed new life.

The drama at the top started when Bani Yas substitute Ahmed Abunamous danced through Sharjah’s defense on Thursday to score their first loss of the season. Al Jazira improved thanks to a brisk 3-2 win at an Al Wasl, inspired by the arrival of Fluminense coach Odair Hellmann, while Al Nasr’s 2-1 loss to Al Ain’s 10 men on Friday held them back Tempo.

Mahdi Ali, meanwhile, experienced a nightmare when he returned to Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and went down 3-2 in the low Fujairah. Al Wahda’s winless run extended to four games with a bleak goalless draw at sixth-placed Ittihad Kalba. Ramon Lopes’ doubles scored a 2-1 triumph for improving Khor Fakkan in Ajman’s downfall, and the bottom Hatta stuck on one point after Denilson was the only goal for midfielder Al Dhafra.

Here are Sport360 ° Top tips and a topic of conversation:


Ramon Lopes (Khor Fakkan)

An eventful competition between two fighting teams, which ended with 10 men each, was held within the first half an hour.

Brazilian striker Lopes’s brace – backed by goalkeeper Ali Al Hosani’s flimsy attempt to hold off the first – was enough to prevent Ajman’s resurrection in the second half.

That’s five goals in his last three AGL run-outs, an invaluable form of helping to drive Caio Zanardi’s troops out of the drop zone.


Ahmed Abunamous (Bani Yas)

This was one way to end the division’s only unbeaten record.

Abunamous had been in the park less than two minutes when he gained possession within the center circle. Seductive pace footwork – reminiscent of Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup – got him through four challenges before sending UAE goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani the wrong way with a precise, low finish.

An unforgettable moment.


Pedro Emanuel (Al Ain)

Emanuel needed more than a result this weekend – he needed a performance too.

Fortunately for the ex-Porto defender, his players delivered against Nasr. The most decorated club in the United Arab Emirates had gotten into a listless three-game run without a win, causing widespread unrest.

Fears of another troubling day grew when Bandar Al Ahbabi, a man from the United Arab Emirates, was fired because of a major challenge in just 23 yearsapprox Minute. Fast forward to the final whistle and an invigorating win against the expected title challengers were assured, even if Japan international Tsukasa Shiotani scored an own goal.

Crisis? What a crisis.


For a man of such accomplishments, Ali has much to prove

Mahdi Ali is an undisputed legend of UAE football.

His successes with various national teams – the paternal promotion of the “Golden Generation”, participation in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, victory in the 2013 Golf Cup and third place in the 2015 Asian Cup – have proven themselves. However, his record at club level is less glorious.

Is he really the best candidate to turn a rich Shabab Al Ahli squad from inexplicable contenders into expected title contenders? Early concerns about his suitability will not have grown until after the caning is returned in Fujairah on Friday.

Ali answered the merged team’s previous 911 call – he represented Al Ahli as a player from 1983 to 1998 – in December 2017 when Cosmin Olaroius’ iconic reign broke and was knocked out after a memorable fifth place and a mediocre win of 42.1. This was a small decrease from the 50 profit share in the opening stint recorded from November 2009 to February 2010.

No other club teams were headed by the 55-year-old. He has raised zero trophies in all three Ahli stints.

It’s not all negative. Shabab Al Ahli in Fujairah had 69 percent possession and made more than three times the attempts of his hosts (21/6).

Ali cannot be held responsible for wild mistakes cited by Walid Abbas’ unusually sloppy first-time giveaway, as well as center-back Hamdan Al Kamali’s unpredictable guilt for the next two goals.

All eyes are on the visit of fourth-placed Bani Yas on Saturday.



Al Dhafra 1-0 Hatta

Bani Yas 1-0 Sharjah

Al Wasl 2-3 Al Jazira


Ittihad Kalba 0-0 Al Wahda

Fujairah 3-2 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club

Al Nasr 1-2 Al Ain

Ajman 1-2 Khor Fakkan

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