Shabab Al Ahli enter Arabian Gulf Cup final


The match by now was played entirely in Shabab Al Ahli’s half as Al Jazira, led by Omar, dominated the play

Defending champions Shabab Al Ahli held their nerves to beat Al Jazira 6-4 (2-2) on penalties at a rain drenched Mohammad bin Zayed Stadium to reach the Arabian Gulf Cup final.

In an enduring encounter, there was nothing to separate the two sides after full time. During shootout, Ahmed Khalil, Federico Cartabia, Yousef Jaber and Davide Mariani were on target for Shabab Al Ahli. Ali Mabkhout and Keno netted but Omar Abdulrahman and Musallam Fayez missed for Al Jazira.

The match was a seesaw one with early proceedings dominated by Al Jazira. In 17 minutes, the home team came close as Omar curled a free-kick into the box which Serbian defender Milos Kosanovic headed nicely but straight to keeper Majed Naser.

The match by now was played entirely in Shabab Al Ahli’s half as Al Jazira, led by Omar, dominated the play.

However, completely against the run of play, Shabab Al Ahli scored. Striker Khalil placed the ball into Al Jazira box and three green shirts – Leonardo Da Silva, Abdalla Ali Hassan and Mohammed Marzooq – pounced onto the opportunity catching the defence unawares. And Marzooq deposited the ball into the far left past keeper Adel Fadaaq as defenders stood stunned by the turn of events.

The momentum shifted completely. In the final minutes of the half, Shabab Al Ahli should have netted two more but Leonardo Da Silva missed on both occasions.

After the break, Al Jazira replaced Ahmed Mahmoud with Mabkhout and it helped build pressure. And by 58 minutes, Al Jazira drew level as Omar drilled a low-cross to the right corner of the post to make it 1-1. In a tense end, Jaber scored an own goal through Omar’s free-kick. But immediately Shabab Al Ahli won a penalty and substitute striker Cartabia leveled to make it 2-2. At the end, keeper Naser kept out Omar’s spot kick and Mariani scored to drive Shabab Al Ahli into yet another final.

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