Round 7 of the 2019/20 Arabian Gulf League delivered several stellar displays, at both ends of the table.
In the stand-out match of the weekend, dogged champions – and current leaders – Sharjah came away with a rousing 2-0 triumph at expected title challengers Al Jazira. Abdullah Al Naqbi scored the only goal of the game within 20 seconds as second-placed Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club kept pace, while promoted Hatta pulled away from the drop zone and heaped more misery on Fujairah thanks to Ricardo Valente’s fine solo strike.
Here are Sport360°’s top picks and a talking point:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Otabek Shukurov (Sharjah)
Al Jazira will still be scratching their heads about why they could not turn colossal 74-per-cent possession into a vital three points versus Sharjah.
A big reason for the visitors’ fine 2-0 win was outstanding Uzbekistan anchor man Shukurov. His half-volley opened the scoring, while his five clearances was the second most for the King.
GOAL OF THE WEEK
Ricardo Valente (Hatta)
This was some way to record a second AGL strike.
Portuguese forward Valente, 28, twisted away from the challenge of Fujairah left-back Abdullah Al Noubi at speed, before rifling a shot into the roof of the net from an unpromising angle. This win pushed promoted Hatta up to ninth, while heaping more misery on the hosts.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Winfried Schafer (Bani Yas)
Schafer had to plumb the deep depths of his managerial reservoir to come away with a goalless draw against Al Ain.
The Sky Blues also shut down the expected title-chasers – and Schafer’s employers from 2007-09 – with 10 men for the final 35 minutes, following Joao Victor’s dismissal. Now, for a first since October 4…
They need to Jaz it up
Premier summer signings, the backbone of the UAE squad and a beloved coach’s return.
Everything looked to be in place for Jazira to grow into the class of the 2019/20 field. Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Sharjah, however, continued a damaging pattern this term versus the competition’s biggest names.
Al Wahda also beat them in the derby, while goalless draws were registered versus Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and Al Ain. Marcel Keizer must inculcate a big-game mentality, ASAP.
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