Arabian Gulf League matchweek 9
Surprises were aplenty in matchweek 9 of the Arabian Gulf League as four of the top five sides stuttered, leaving the table unchanged at the top end. Al Wasl continued to lead the table with 21 points, two ahead of Al Ain and Al Wahda while Shabab Al Ahli and Al Nasr followed with 14 points each. Reigning champions Al Jazira moved a point clear of Dibba at sixth place, while neighbours Sharjah and Ajman occupied eighth and ninth places with nine and eight points respectively. Hatta and Al Dhafra have seven points each, leaving them three points ahead of bottom placed Emirates.
The weekend's six games saw three draws, one away victory and two home wins. Only one match ended goalless as 20 goals were scored, and three teams failed to find the back of the net.
Dibba got the action underway with the first upset of matchweek 9, holding Al Ain to a goalless draw at Fujairah Stadium. Al Wasl failed to capitalise on Al Ain's slip as they threw away a two-goal lead to draw Ajman 2-2 at Zabeel Stadium.
The Friday night fixture saw Abdulaziz Al Anbari's Sharjah side concede their first defeat under the Emirati coach with a 0-3 hammering at the hands of Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi. The Clarets move level with Al Ain on 19 points in second place while the King remained eighth with nine points.
Hatta recorded the biggest result of the week with a stunning 5-2 win over Al Dhafra at Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium to end a four-game winless run and consign their hosts to relegation places two matchweeks before the end of the league's first half.
Champions Al Jazira came from behind to beat Emirates 3-1 at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium to move up to sixth with 13 points while Emirates replace Hatta at the bottom of the table.
Matchweek 9 concluded with a fifth consecutive draw for Shabab Al Ahli, this time away to Al Nasr as both sides remain level on 14 points.
A clean weekend of action saw no penalties awarded and no players sent off as the number of yellow cards dropped to 18. The Dubai derby between Al Nasr and Shabab Al Ahli witnessed the highest share of the cards with five bookings, three of which were shown to Shabab Al Ahli players. Al Wasl was the only team whose players received no cards.
The Cheetah's winger Fabio de Lima added his tenth goal of the season against Emirates to stay top of the goal scoring charts. Shabab Al Ahli's Makhete Diop continued to chase with his goal against Al Nasr putting him just two goals behind the Brazilian. Al Wahda's Sebastian Tagliabue and Al Wasl's Caio Canedo both scored in this matchweek to move up to seven goals.