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UAE round-up: Shikabala impresses, but the Emperor fail to win yet again.
On the opening day of the third week of the UAE Pro League, Shikabala’s Al Wasl hosted rivals Al Ahli in the biggest and most anticipated match of the week.
Both teams failed to garner a victory in their previous match with Al Wasl only managing a 2-2 draw against Al Nasr, despite taking the lead twice, while Al Ahli succumbed to a 2-1 loss at home to Al Jazira.
In a hotly contested and tense derby, Al Wasl started the brighter of the two sides with Shikabala proving a threat to the Al Ahli defence with his most memorable moment a brilliant looped pass to partner-in-crime and league top scorer, Emiliano Alfaro, who failed to convert. Al Wasl, however, were finally rewarded with the opening goal through Mariano Donda after a scuffle in the area from a corner kick taken by Shikabala.
However, after half-time, Al Ahli brought themselves back into the match with an equalizer scored by the in-form Grafite, who pounced on a loose ball after a howler from the Al Wasl keeper, Ahmed Mahmood. Al Wasl quickly regained the lead through a controversial penalty converted by Emiliano Alfaro- his 6th of the season- to make it 2-1 for the Emperor.
That goal, though, proved fruitless in the end as Al Ahli grabbed a late equalizer through that man- Grafite- yet again, his 6th of the season as well equaling Alfaro at the top of the goalscoring charts. And, that’s how the match ended at 2-2. Al Wasl, yet again, failed to preserve and hold on to their lead for the second game running.
Shikabala had a good game tonight, especially in the first half where he ran the Al Ahli defence ragged at times with his constant runs and trickery which excited the crowd, who were cheering on and screaming at every touch he made- he’s become a firm fan favorite among the Al Wasl support.
However, he dipped in the second half, especially in the last 20 minutes or so just like the rest of his team. His only blemish to his performance was a heated argument with Al Ahli’s Al Sanqoor, after he unnecessarily pushed him to the ground. But this was a much better display than the one he put on last week against Al Nasr, where his presence was almost non-existent.
Watch all of Shika’s touches below:
In another match, Zidan’s Baniyas continued their resurgence with a dramatic 3-2 win away to Dubai- their second win in a row- thanks to a last minute winner from skipper Yousif Jaber.
Omar Almasri is the owner of the world football website O-Posts and is an expert on Middle Eastern football. Omar will be covering the fortunes of the UAE Pro League on KingFut.com and you can follow him on Twitter @OAlmasri.