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Al Shabab tame Al Jazira 2-1.

Dubai: Al Shabab continued their reign at the top with a 2-0 win over Al Jazira while Sharjah earned their first points with a 4-1 thrashing of Dibba in Group B action of the Arabian Gulf Cup late on Saturday. Al Shabab became the only team with an unblemished record after three matches to take their tally to nine points, while Al Jazira continued at the lower end with just one point after two matches. Sharjah's win at home against Dibba gave them their first three points while the newcomers continued at the cellar with just one point from three games.

Henrique Luvannor opened the scoring for the home side one minute after the hour when he drove in all alone and poked home past Khalid Al Sennani, while Brazilian World Cup striker Jo Alves pounced on a loose ball and stroked home the second in the 68th minute following a misunderstanding in the Al Jazira defence.

Played under unusually oppressive heat, the match at Al Mamzar never rose to expectations with Al Jazira sorely missing incisiveness in attack due to the absence of their foreign duo of Jefferson Farfan and Mirko Vucinic. The teams ended goalless at the end of the first half with the home side guilty of squandering several scoring chances.

Much of the credit for the first half stalemate should go to visiting goalkeeper Al Sennani who time and again stood tall against all onslaughts on his goal. In the 25th minute Al Sennani saved a long try from Carlos Villanueva and three minutes later ensured Luvannor did not get the space after accepting a through ball from the Chilean play-maker.

The visitors enjoyed the luxury of another two escapes. In the 43rd minute, Jo Alves came up with a lovely delivery from the left to Manei Mohammad, but the diminutive player failed to trap cleanly with only the goalkeeper to beat. And during the first half injury period, Al Sennani was once again to the rescue when he saved off Alves.

Al Jazira showed better coordination in the early stages of the second half, but Al Shabab simply dug in and kept the visitors at bay. Finally, the home side came up with the first goal as Luvannor single-handedly ploughed his way through and poked home. And seven minutes later Alves latched on to a lose ball to make it 2-0.

Al Jazira finally managed a consolation goal deep into injury time when Thiago Neves scored from the penalty spot after substitute Majid Lafi had been fouled by a late challenge from Mohammad Marzook.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 11, 2015
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