There were no significant changes in the table with Al Ain, Al Jazira and Shabab Al Ahli maintaining their top three spots in the standings after the completion of eight weeks of ADNOC Pro League.
Shabab Al Ahli fought their way to a 1-1 draw against leaders Al Ain, who now got to retain the standings’ lead with 18 points followed by Al Jazira (16 points) and Shabab Al Ahli (15).
A handful of teams including Al Wahda, Al Wasl, Ittihad Kalba and Khor Fakkan were among those making a better impression than the others.
Ittihad Kalba impress
Despite their struggle at the beginning of the campaign, Ittihad Kalba have managed to show remarkable cohesion as a team over the past few weeks.
They turned things around with a 2-1 win against Al Orooba before totally outplaying Al Nasr 3-0 on Thursday.
It was a surprising win as Al Nasr ironically enjoyed 69% of ball possession, but failed to be decisive in front of the Ittihad Kalba goal.
The visitors were concentrated and focused at the task at hand while catching Al Nasr off-guard on the counter to win 3-0.
Ousmane Camara was on fine form netting a brace as Ittihad Kalba scored two goals in as many minutes in the first half before adding a third in the second to outplay their more illustrious opponents.
The result helped Ittihad Kalba climb into double figures with ten points and in tenth place, while Al Nasr slipped one spot down into fifth with 13 points.
Al Wahda climb up
Following a period of doubt that saw them bear five successive draws, Al Wahda bagged their second consecutive win on Friday with a 3-1 triumph against Al Dhafra to make the climb into fourth place with 14 points.
Dominating ball possession at 78%, Al Wahda were quick at finding the back of the net with Syrian Omar Khrbin giving them the lead in the very second minute.
The foxy Ismail Matar curled in a beauty of a free kick in the 23rd minute to double the score and Fabio Martins made it 3-0 in the 69th minute after Khalaf Al Hosani had been sent off midway through the opening session.
Al Dhafra’s lone consolation came in the 73rd minute when Pedro Pavlo score, but by then it was a bit too late.
Al Wasl bag full points
Out in the doldrums and going through a patchy form, Al Wasl missed Fabio de Lima, but managed to hold on well for a hard-fought 1-0 win against Emirates Club with the lone goal coming deep into the game’s added time.
Al Wasl had done well to win all three points against cross-city rivals Shabab Al Ahli in Round Six.
But the Cheetahs from Zabeel fell against current leaders Al Ain the following week, and although they seemed headed towards splitting points against the club from Ras Al Khaimah till substitute Mohammed Al Akhberi snatched the winner taking his side into eighth spot with 12 points.
KhorFakkan to the fore
KhorFakkan was the fourth team displaying a steady progression following their third win in the last four matches with goalkeeper Zayed Ahmed displaying amazing brilliance on goal with as many as six saves made.
After their well-contested 2-2 away draw with Bani Yas in the previous round, Khor Fakkan outplayed Ajman with goals on either side of half-time for their third home win at the Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qassimi Stadium.
Their other two victories were against Al Dhafra and bottom-placed Emirates.
Al Ain keep top spot
Two headed goals saw Al Ain and Shabab Al Ahli share the spoils in a game that witnessed the return of former Asian player of the year Ahmed Khalil following a lengthy absence.
Al Ain had the better possession at 57% and looked more dangerous against a team that managed to keep them at bay. Al Ain had 14 shots on goal, compared to just six from the home team.
Al Ain were also the defensively better teams as their players recorded nearly 90 per cent success in on-field tackles.
Al Ain were unlucky not to be up by at least a few goals in the first half, but it was Majed Nasser who brought off three saves to deny the visitors.
With this draw Al Ain avoided losing a match in the first eight rounds for the first time since the 2017’-18 season.
Sharjah wavering form continues
Former champions Sharjah continued with their woes as they dropped vital points having been held to a 2-2 draw against Al Orooba.
Care-taker coach Juan Carlos Fornos had to watch for the second time within a week as his team squandered their lead.
Last week, Ajman knocked them out of the Pro League Cup and on Thursday it was a repeat of the same story as Al Orooba fought back for a 2-2 draw.
Caio Lucas Fernandes gave Sharjah the lead in the very first minute, but Kingsley Eduwo slide in unmarked in the seventh minute for the equaliser.
Sharjah regained the lead in the 22nd minute when Caio’s perfect ball found skipper Shaheen Abdullah nodding in.
But, the former champions dropped vital points when Eduwo struck for the second time in the 64th minute to keep Sharjah rooted in fifth place with 13 points, while Al Orooba retained their 13th spot with four points.
Al Jazira keep the pressure
Al Jazira, meanwhile, kept the pressure on leaders Al Ain with a smooth 2-0 win against Bani Yas.
Both goals came in the second half as Abdullah Ramadan opened the scoring in the 49th minute and Abdoulay Diaby got the second in the 65th minute as Al Jazira kept up the pressure in second spot with 16 points.