Sharjah failed to fully capitalise on reigning champions Al Ain’s thrashing in ‘Al Clasico’ on Wednesday but did still take a step closer to a coveted maiden Arabian Gulf League title in 23 years with a 0-0 draw at Ajman.
Keeper Adel Al Hosani impressed on Thursday night as the King escaped with a 0-0 draw against the Orange Brigade at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium.
The first chance of the game fell to Ajman’s Stanley Nka in the second minute, as he fired a powerful effort that was saved by the Sharjah stopper.
Midway through the first half, Sharjah started to control possession but failed to pose any real threat. Very few chances were created in the rest of the first half, as both teams headed into the break deadlocked at 0-0.
Ajman’s Mame Thiam came close to finding the back of the net just three minutes after the restart, however his close-range header was brilliantly saved by Al Hosani. Stanley was then denied again after going one-on-one with Al Hosani on the hour mark.
Eighth-placed Ajman’s pressure continued and the visitors were indebted to forward Welliton who pulled off a goal-line stop to keep the game goalless.
Ajman kept pushing until the final minutes of the game, hoping to inflict a first defeat of the season on the champions elect, but Al Hosani continued to impress as he saved Hussain Abdulrahman’s powerful effort in injury time to keep a clean sheet.
It was a fifth draw for the King who are the only unbeaten side left in the league, Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s men searching for their first title since 1995/96.
They are now nine points above second-placed Al Ain – demolished 5-1 on Wednesday by rampant Al Jazira – with seven games remaining.
In the night’s other game, Al Wahda and Al Dhafra also shared the points in a 1-1 draw in the Western Region.
Yahya Al Ghassani’s opener was cancelled out by Suhail Almansoori’s goal as Wahda stayed fifth with Dhafra moving above Ajman into seventh.
The Western Knights were controlling the possession in the early phases of the first half at Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium, but without posing threat to Wahda’s goal.
But the Clarets broke the deadlock around the 15-minute mark, thanks to Al Ghassani’s goal.
⏱ | FT: @AjmanClub 0-0 @SharjahFC. #AGLeague— Arabian Gulf League (@AGLeague_EN) 4 April 2019
Winner: Adel and Ali's mother, she wouldn't be happy to see any of her kids deated 👵@AjmanClub and @SharjahFC share the game points. pic.twitter.com/izgM2i4qBr
Veteran UAE international Ismail Matar’s free-kick was brilliantly saved by Dhafra keeper Khaled Al Senaani, but the rebound fell to Sebastian Tagliabue who fed Al Ghassani to tap home.
The hosts levelled 10 minutes before the break. Capitalising on a defensive mistake from, Suhail Al Mansoori found the ball inside the box and slotted home past helpless Mohamed Al Shamsi.
In the second half, the hosts relied on counter-attacks, while the guests put more pressure on the home side’s defence.
Tagliabue’s effort on the hour missed the target, before Al Mansoori went close. With 12 minutes to go, Rim Chang-woo found Tagliabue’s headed ball but his effort went inches wide.
Wahda substitute Ahmed Ali came close to netting the winner in the dying minutes. However, his first effort hit the woodwork and his second attempt sailed over the goal.
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