Arabian Gulf Cup win for Al Wasl

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The Cheetahs are now top of Group A.

The ex-Boca Juniors coach – smartly attired in shirt and tie despite the draining humidity in Dubai – watched on as forwards Caio Canedo and Fabio De Lima struck in the first half.

The routine 2-0 triumph took the Cheetahs top of Group A, but the free-flowing style in which it was attained would have pleased the 41-year-old most.

With the aforementioned Brazilian duo plus playmaker Ronaldo Mendes and Portuguese winger Helder Barbosa already in tune, next week’s Arabian Gulf League bow at Al Jazira can be relished.

For Tornados boss Walid Al Balooshi, this was another reality check ahead of the club’s debut top-flight campaign in the professional era. His First Division League champions created few chances at their temporary home of Al Nasr’s Al Maktoum Stadium, Burkina Faso striker Issiaka Ouedraogo left isolated in this follow up to the opening 2-1 loss at Al Dhafra.

The breakthrough came on 38 minutes as Canedo smartly spun past centre-back Mahmoud Al Balooshi and fired into the bottom corner. This lead was doubled before the break as lethal De Lima – who struck 20 times in the 2015/16 AGL – nodded home a deep Mendes corner.

The tempo dropped after the break because of the conditions, with Hatta notably ailing as they get used to the elite pace.

Mendes wasted the best opportunity, his penalty being saved to goalkeeper Saif Al Bdi’s left after full-back Ali Alkhaja’s amateurish handball.

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PLC announce new Dhs255m TV deal

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Done deal: PLC ties up crucial telecast contracts for next three years.

UAE football’s governing body has struck a new three-year deal worth Dhs255m to show live games from the Arabian Gulf League and associated competitions.

The Pro League Committee announced it had renewed the sale of its television broadcast rights in an equal deal between Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Channels at Abu Dhabi’s Fairmont Bab Al Bahar hotel, Monday.

The PLC has contracted LIVE as its exclusive production company to show AGL, Arabian Gulf Cup, Arabian Gulf Super Cup and Under-21 League games.

All parties said they had wanted to continue a lengthy and strong partnership which began many years ago at the inception of the professional football era in the UAE and has contributed to the development of the game and the competing clubs.

Abdullah Naser Al Junaibi, chairman of the PLC and vice chairman of the UAE Football Association, claimed the cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Channels will continue to benefit UAE football.

“The move comes as another positive step in the history of professional football in our nation,” he said. “All sides involved in this were extremely keen to continue this partnership, which we believe will become increasingly fruitful and beneficial for the viewing public.”

Al Junaibi also revealed that a number of new and exciting concepts are set to be rolled out over the next three years as part of the deal, bringing the broadcast of the AGL and associated competitions to another level and opening up additional opportunities and revenue channels for the benefit of the League and its clubs.

He was also keen to underline the dedication towards assisting the clubs in becoming more financially independent and viable as entities, by reducing outgoings and debts, and increasing income – with the television broadcast deal the single largest source of revenue for clubs.

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Ittihad Kalba seal Kone signing

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Kalba-bound: Kone (foreground).

Yo-yo club Ittihad Kalba’s last-minute remodelling has continued with the addition of ex-Dibba Al Fujairah loanee Bakary Kone.

Kone, 27, impressed on the eastern coast last season as his seven goals and five assists in 24 games helped the promoted side avoid relegation. But another deal could not be agreed with Wydad Casablanca for the Ivorian attacking midfielder.

This presented an opportunity to swoop, with the new boy replacing discarded summer signing Carmelo Gonzalez in the four-player foreign quota.

There hs been rampant change at the Tigers, with Italian Fabio Viviani replacing coach Mourad Okbi and July purchase Yahia Kebe not being registered for action.

“Ivorian Bakary Kone, the player of Wydad Casablanca, has been purchased by Ittihad Kalba,” the club tweeted. “This came after Wydad gave their final permission.”

The uncertainty about Kebe’s future means they are likely to be pursuing one more non-Emirati ahead of September 16’s top-flight kick-off at Dibba. Iraq centre-back Salam Shaker and prolific Romanian forward Mihai Costea should still be retained.

In the domestic market, they have permanently brought in midfielders Mohammed Al Khdeim and Hamad Al Hosani from Ajman, plus Emirates Club defender Eissa Abdullah. Loan deals have been secured for promising U-21 League top scorer Shaheen Surour from Al Jazira and Al Nasr goalkeeper Ibrahim Al Baloshi.

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