Here, we compare his record to the leading scorers since the competition turned professional at the start of 2008/09:
Club(s): Al Jazira
Games per goal: 1.52
Mabkhout has grown from a wasteful prospect into the best indigenous goal scorer in Asia’s major leagues. At just 27, there are many more to come.
Club(s): Al Ain, Al Ahli (loan)
Games per goal: 0.96
The African joined in his prime, before injuries took their toll; 95 of his goals came at Al Ain from 2011-15 and just six more followed on loan at Al Ahli in 2016/17.
Club(s): Al Wahda
Games per goal: 1.06
There is no great grace to the Argentine striker’s game. He’s simply a relentless scorer of goals. Is showing no signs of slowing down at 32-years old.
Club(s): Al Dhafra, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club
Games per goal: 1.4
The giant Senegalese’s tally would be even more impressive if he’d not loyally spent nearly five years at lowly Dhafra.
FABIO DE LIMA
Club(s): Al Wasl
Games per goal: 1.17
It is not just the volume which impresses about the brilliant Brazilian, it’s also the variety. Long-range or tap-ins, free-kicks or headers, he does it all.
Great intrigue will surround the squad named for next month’s star-studded King’s Cup in Thailand after the UAE Football’s Association’s clampdown on errant leading men Omar Abdulrahman and Ali Mabkhout continued with the pair’s appeals rejected against controversial domestic bans accrued for misbehaviour on international duty.
2016 AFC Player of the Year Abdulrahman, 26, and 2015 Asian Cup top marksman Mabkhout, 27, were given four-match suspensions on January 23 after they had been found guilty of leaving the Whites’ hotel in Kuwait City without permission from 20:15-22:30 the night before January 5’s dismal penalty-shootout defeat to lowly Oman in the Gulf Cup final. Utility-man Mohammed Fawzi, 27, was also found to have been part of the infraction, but escaped a ban as he was unavailable for the game.
Abdulrahman’s Al Ain plus Mabkhout and Fawzi’s Al Jazira had attempted to get the punishments overturned. But this was rejected out of hand by the Appeals Committee on Sunday.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s squad are next scheduled to feature in Bangkok from March 23-25 in a tournament organisers say will feature stellar Arsenal signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Gabon, Napoli icon Marek Hamsik with Slovakia and World Cup 2018-qualifying nemesis Thailand – an abysmal 1-1 draw in June on their last visit to Rajamangala National Stadium virtually ended hopes of progression. Whether the aforementioned trio feature will dominate the build-up.
In the wake of their punishments being announced last month, all three pledged their continued commitment to the UAE on Twitter.
Mabkhout and Abdulrahman both served just one of their four-match suspensions before they were frozen when the appeal process was initiated.
Sunday’s events mean Mabkhout will miss Arabian Gulf League clashes at Al Wasl on Wednesday and at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium against Hatta on February 23, plus the Arabian Gulf Cup quarter-final decider at home to Dibba Al Fujairah on February 15. He will be able to feature in the opening two matches of Group A in the 2018 AFC Champions League when Wesley Sneijder’s Al Gharafa of Qatar travel to Abu Dhabi on February 12 and February 19’s trip to Saudi Arabian giants Al Ahli Jeddah.
‘Amoory’, who is currently nursing an injury problem, will be absent for top-flight fixtures at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium against Emirates Club on Thursday and at Sharjah on February 24, plus the last-eight AG Cup decider at Al Wahda on February 16. In the ACL’s Group D, he can feature at Saudi Professional League champions Al Hilal in his birth city of Riyadh on February 13 and at home to Michael Laudrup’s Al Rayyan of Qatar on February 20.
After yet another pulsating round of action from the Arabian Gulf League, Matt Jones casts his eye back over the events of the weekend, which saw leaders Al Ain enter seventh heaven against Ajman, while former UAE national team coach Mahdi Ali earned a first league with in charge of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club.
Here’s the best bits from this weekend:
Player of the Week: Hussein El Shahat (Al Ain)
What a find. In a title battle that looks like it will be a close one, players acquired in January could make the difference. And the Egyptian midfielder is well and truly blossoming in the Garden City.
Has netted five times in his first four games for the Boss. He bagged a hat-trick in Saturday’s 7-0 rout of Ajman, and added two more assists. Notable mention to Al Wahda’s Sebastian Tagliabue, who notched his 100th AGL goal for the Clarets.
Goal of the Week: Yaser Al Juneibi (Al Dhafra)
The winner of this every week is always usually a cracking effort, but we’ve never seen an own goal quite as spectacular as this. Luckless Al Juneibi appeared to have done everything right, dispossessing the dangerous Ali Mabkhout who had brought down a long ball delightfully.
Unfortunately, instead of rocketing the ball out of play for a corner, Al Juneibi rifled an unstoppable effort into his own top corner, giving goalkeeper Zayed Ahmed no chance whatsoever.
Coach of the week: Mahdi Ali (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club)
It’s been a tough return to the club Ali spent 15 years at as a player and whom he briefly managed in 2009/10. It’s been a pretty tough start to life for Ali since replacing the enigmatic Cosmin Olaroiu in early December.
Two defeats and two draws had been recorded in the AGL until a maiden win arrived in the form of a 2-0 victory at Emirates Club at the weekend. Stuck in mid-table following a league high eight stalemates from 15 fixtures, perhaps this is the turning point for 2015/16 champions.
Talking point: Can the Tornado spin another unlikely escape bid
It’s been a case of second season syndrome for the side from the UAE-Oman border, who surprised many last season with their relegation survival story having earned promotion to the top-flight for the first time in nearly a decade. Nizar Mahrous’ men hadn’t won in the league for two months prior to Friday’s 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers Sharjah.
It was a priceless win, finally releasing them from the grip of the relegation spots after a prolonged stay and inching them closer to the King who they trail by just three points. With all the other sides below them losing, the great escape could be on once more.