Pride is back for Jazira with magical title

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Beaming boss Henk ten Cate has declared sterling dedication and a collective spirit has driven Al Jazira towards their Arabian Gulf League success.

With the usual efficiency showcased throughout this transformational campaign, the long-term pacesetters eased towards a first title since 2010/11 with two games to spare. Leading scorer Ali Mabkhout moved onto 31 goals with a merciless hat-trick, his efforts being added to Brazilian forward Samuel Rosa’s volleyed own goal from countryman Leonardo’s teasing corner and substitute Ailton Almeida’s instant strike once unleashed from the bench.

The Jazira staff and players celebrated wildly in front of the loyal supporters who had ventured to the Hajar Mountains. Few of them, both fans and employees, would have dreamed the misery suffered by the fallen giants in the 2015/16 top flight would develop into supremacy just 12 months later.

Their superiority ensured the minimal target of coming away with the draw required to prevail was never threatened by a promoted side already assured of safety. It also meant usurped champions – who needed victory and a slip-up in the eastern region to extend the chase – Al Ahli’s 2-2 draw at Sharjah at the same time had no bearing on the destiny of the title.

“I’m a happy man,” said ex-Barcelona and Chelsea assistant Ten Cate, who turned down the Netherlands job on Monday. “Our dream came true, finally – if you believe in something you can achieve it.”

“We don’t have the best players – we know this – but for sure we have the best team.”

“If you score 67 goals, and concede only 15 – this is our 14th clean sheet – it’s something special.”

“When I started here, the group made a fantastic change, where they realised if the group do it together, then we could win something, starting with the President’s Cup last year.”

“But you have to strongly believe in this, you have to work your socks off, you have to be dedicated to the things you do. We still have two games to go and the team said they want to break the all-time record in points and victories.”

“Not one team before won 22 games, and this is now what they’re aiming for: to write history, and real history.”

“There is only one team who deserve the championship this year. And that is us.”

An upset was threatened in just the second minute as nine-goal Fluminense loanee Rosa rattled the base of the post from close range, with UAE goalkeeper Ali Khaseif well beaten.

This was the closest the defeated President’s Cup semi-finalists would get to their unflinching opponents. Influential summer arrival and Morocco playmaker Mbark Boussoufa soon chipped in an inviting cross from which Mabkhout rose unimpeded to head home.

For Ten Cate, he is confused as to why his predator is not a cherished icon in the UAE, saying: “We have one phenomenon: Ali Mabkhout. He is special. Man, he is special.”

“I feel sorry for him that he’s not so appreciated in this country.”

Jazira then held Hatta at arm’s length until they exploded after the interval. Rosa’s long limbs worked against him for an own goal, before Mabkhout unnervingly found the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

They refused to take their foot off Hatta’s neck, two more goals coming in the final throes. Substitute Ailton Almeida moved onto six AGL goals in 20 games as he slotted in shortly after being thrown on.

There was also still time for Mabkhout to escape with the match ball.

UAE prospect Khalfan Mubarak’s dancing feet were too inviting for the Tornado rearguard, with the 21-year-old being felled in the box for a penalty his senior team-mate was emphatically never going to miss.

Most popular

IN PICS: Bayern seal Bundesliga, Real leave it late, Sunderland relegated

Sport360 staff 29/04/2017
Another year, another title for Bayern.

Saturday was a day of celebration for Bayern Munich after the German giants sealed a fifth successive Bundesliga title, while late drama saw Real Madrid stay in control of the La Liga title race.

In start contrast, Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League.

Here, we take you through all of the action from around Europe.

BUNDESLIGA

Bayern Munich claimed a fifth straight Bundesliga title after a routine win over Wolfsburg, coupled with a RB Leipzig’s home draw with Ingolstadt.

A wonderful David Alaba free-kick put Munich on their way, with Robert Lewandowski adding another before half-time to put the Bavarians in control.

Arjen Robben added a fourth before Wolfsburg captain Luis Gustavo added to his side’s woes with a moment of madness, kicking the ball away in anger after being whistled for a foul and earning a second yellow card in the process. Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich added fifth and sixth goals to confirm Bayern Munich’s triumph.

Borussia Dortmund also drew at home on Saturday, to FC Koln, which means Hoffenheim can go above Dortmund and move into third place if they win on Sunday.

LA LIGA

The destiny of the La Liga title race remains in Real Madrid’s hands as they got a crucial 2-1 win over Valencia at home. Left-back Marcelo spared the blushes of Cristiano Ronaldo, who had opened the scoring in the first half but missed a penalty that would have put Madrid up 2-0.

Instead, Dani Parejo scored a sublime free kick to level the scores in the 82nd minute, only for Marcelo to put Madrid back in front just four minutes later.

The result puts Madrid three points ahead of Barcelona, who play city rivals Espanyol later on Saturday. A Barcelona win would put them back on top of the table, but Madrid would then have a game in hand.

PREMIER LEAGUE

There were only two goals in the 6PM kick-offs in the Premier League, but one of those struck a fatal blow in the relegation fight. Joshua King’s goal for visitors Bournemouth confirmed the end of Sunderland’s 10-year stay in England’s top flight.

A Southampton win over Hull City would have kept the Black Cats alive even with the loss, but the two sides battled to a 0-0 draw which saw Hull keeper Eldin Jakupovic save a late Dusan Tadic penalty and Hull striker Oumar Niasse’s even later header cleared off the line.

Stoke and West Ham played out a 0-0 draw, while Jamie Vardy helped Leicester to a win at West Brom.

In the late game, Burnley got their first away win of the season, defeating Crystal Palace 2-0.

LIGUE 1

Kylian Mbappe’s dream season continued as he scored the go-ahead goal in Monaco’s come-from-behind win over Toulouse. The 3-1 success means Monaco remain three points clear of PSG and in control of the title race.

PSG play fellow title rivals Nice on Sunday, after which Monaco would have a game in hand on both.

SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP

Celtic equalled their biggest-ever away win in an Old Firm derby, stunning Rangers 5-1 at Ibrox. The Bhoys had sealed a sixth straight league title earlier in April, and this win over their bitter rivals was the icing on the cake after another triumphant season.

MOST DOMINATING WIN – BAYERN MUNICH ROMP TO BUNDESLIGA TITLE

With RB Leipzig drawing earlier in the day, Bayern Munich knew a win against relegation-threatened Wolfsburg would seal a fifth successive Bundesliga title. They did it in style.

BEST CONTEST – REAL MADRID BATTLE TO LATE WIN OVER VALENCIA

Real Madrid have become masters at rescuing wins in the dying minutes of games this season, but their victory on Saturday was nerve-wracking even by their usual standards.

BEST GOAL – ALABA’S FREE-KICK SETS BAYERN ON THEIR WAY TO BUNDESLIGA TITLE

The Austrian’s free-kick opened the floodgates for a dominating win, but none of the five goals that followed matched the quality of the first.

BIGGEST BLUNDER – LUIS GUSTAVO LOSES HIS COOL AS CHAMPIONS RUN RIOT 

It can be hard to see your team being dominated at home, especially when you’re fighting against relegation. But there can be no excuses for Wolfsburg captain Luis Gustavo kicking the ball away in anger after being whistled for a foul, earning a second yellow card and a one-match suspension.

PLAYER OF THE DAY – ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Apart from sending Bayern Munich into half-time with a commanding 3-0 lead, Lewandowski’s two goals also put him ahead of Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race to be the Bundesliga top scorer. A perfect day.

Most popular

What makes the perfect wing-back?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Wing-backs: Victor Moses (L), Dani Alves (R)

In the modern game, wing-backs are in high demand.

Playing with five at the back and using lung busting wing-backs is very much in vogue right now.

This season Chelsea, Juventus and Monaco have all used their wing-backs to great effect, catapulting them to the top of their respective leagues.

But what makes the perfect wing-back? Copa90‘s video below attempts to give us an answer.

Who do you think is the best wing-back in the world?

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

Most popular

Related Sections