Round 10 of the 2019/20 Arabian Gulf League delivered several stellar displays, at both ends of the table.
Al Dhafra’s 2-1 raid on Al Ain handed them a first-ever away win in the Garden City, while hastening the exit of under-pressure boss Ivan Leko. There were also more dropped points from leaders Sharjah, their 1-1 home draw with Ajman being taken advantage of by Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club (2-0 victors at winless Khor Fakkan) and Al Jazira (who thumped Al Wasl 4-0, courtesy of Ali Mabkhout’s hat-trick).
There was unbridled joy for Fujairah when a six-game losing streak was snapped with the 1-0 victory versus Bani Yas.
Here are Sport360°’s top picks and a talking point:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira)
Crisis? What crisis?
Mabkhout’s domestic slump was emphatically ended with his trio in Friday’s 4-0 dismissal of weakened Al Wasl. A six-yard tap-in and two clinically dispatched one-on-ones showed his instincts remained sharp, despite previously netting just twice in nine top-flight run-outs.
His reconnection with playmaker Omar Abdulrahman spells danger for the title chasers.
GOAL OF THE WEEK
Yahya Al Ghassani (Al Wahda)
Football’s oversaturation makes the sight of something undoubtedly new so exhilarating.
Al Ghassani managed to deliver that in Friday’s 2-1 win against 10-man Ittihad Kalba. An over-hit cross appeared to have bounced harmlessly away, only for the UAE Under-23 winger to nonchalantly flick the ball back over the goalkeeper’s head in an unique fashion – simple, yet staggeringly effective.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Vuk Rasovic (Al Dhafra)
Rasovic will take no joy in the ramifications of Thursday’s historic 2-1 win at Al Ain for counterpart Ivan Leko.
Yet the Serb merits acclaim for the manner in which the Western Knights prevailed in the Garden City for the first time. Dhafra defended firmly, led the attempts count 18/13 and witnessed creator Diego Jardel break his duck.
Young guns prove that UAE’s future is anything but dim
Despondency has enveloped UAE football.
The Whites are managerless, with Bert van Marwijk’s generational reset undone. Glimmers of hope, however, were witnessed this weekend.
Al Ghassani’s aforementioned goal was an astonishing demonstration of his vast talent. But so too was the divine, slide-rule pass from Jazira’s fellow 21-year-old Abdullah Ramandan to tee-up Mabkhout’s second.
There was also an assist for Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club’s 17-year-old Harib Suhail in the 2-0 win versus Khor Fakkan.
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