Robert Zulj’s first-half hat-trick earned Ittihad Kalba an emphatic 3-1 victory over Emirates Club at Ittihad Kalba Stadium in Matchday 23 of the ADNOC Pro League on Wednesday.
The hosts needed just six minutes to open the scoring as Colombian winger Bayron Garces whipped a cross from the left that was met by Sultan Adil’s brilliant, cushioned header to set up Zulj, and the Austrian forward volleyed home the opener in style.
Ten minutes later, Ittihad Kalba doubled their tally in similar fashion with Garces this time crossing low, and Brian Ramirez delivered the assist with a backheel pass for Zulj to hammer home his second of the night.
Zulj completed his hat-trick at the half-hour mark, taking advantage of a misplaced back pass from Khaled Ambar and rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home into the empty net to make it 3-0.
The veteran forward entered the club’s history books as the first-ever Ittihad Kalba player to score a hat-trick in the ADNOC Pro League.
Emirates pulled a late consolation goal in the 78th minute through Joseph Gnadou who cut inside from the left, dribbling past two defenders before driving home to make it 3-1.
The result officially confirms Ittihad Kalba’s stay in the top division for another season as they take their tally to 27 points, 13 points clear of the drop zone with three games to go.
Meanwhile, Emirates edge ever closer to relegation as they languish at the foot of the table with just ten points, eight adrift of Al Dhafra in the last safe place.