This is going to be your weekly guide to Middle Eastern Football in English. Live happenings, it’s all on Ahdaaf. We will be putting it into one weekly article regarding every single league in the Middle East. Of course, you will see more in-depth analyses with the bigger leagues and the leagues we have more writers for (if you would like to write for us, feel free to tweet us, Facebook message us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).
When a player’s name is in this colour, it indicates that he is part of the Ahdaaf Team of the Week.
Game of the Week
Baniyas 2-2 Al-Jazira
Stadium: Baniyas Stadium, Abu Dhabi
The Abu Dhabi Derby saw Baniyas succeed in returning from 2 goals down against Al-Jazira in the second half. This was due to the performances of their strikers Ishak Belfodil and Joaquin Larrivey (who now have 12 goals between them) and their substitute ‘keeper, on-loan Adel Abubakar Fadaq.
With late runs from deep, high pressing and speed; Al-Jazira successfully dominated the first half with two goals to none. Baniyas’ focus was on the duo of Ali Mabkhout and Mirko Vucinic up front, however Al-Jazira manager Braga added defensive midfielder Park to the frontline in an aim to trick the Sky Blues. This resulted in Mirko Vucinic dropping deeper into attacking midfield.
Baniyas didn’t show the required level needed to perform in the Derby during the first half, with their 3 lines (defence, midfield and attack) disconnected and leaving spaces for Al-Jazira to exploit. The midfield trio of Mark Milligan, Amer Abdulrahman and Fawaz Awana failed to protect the defence adequately.
However, Al-Jazira’s defence sat tight in the second half looking to keep the lead – but this was detrimental. The two goals that they conceded were in the 6 yard box and as a result of their poor positioning in tandem with their partners in the defensive line. Belfodil and Larrivey both scored a goal each, while Fadaq kept the goal empty of any goals for the rest of the game.
A talking point here is – once again – the fans. It is bizarre to see that the Baniyas Stadium saw an attendance of 3,000 against Dibba (a newly promoted team with no significance to Baniyas) yet they fail to show up in a match that can prove their title credentials; against their local rivals Al-Jazira. Not looking good in the AGLeague, that’s for sure. One thing is Al-Jazira’s possession game, that saw Park Jong Woo score after an 18-pass move.
Rest of the Games
Al-Wasl 5-1 Fujairah
Stadium: Zabeel Stadium, Al-Wasl
Al-Wasl haven’t seen a poor attendance such as this one since the 2013-14 season, but their performance was spectacular. The first half was an evenly matched one, with Fujairah providing a good defensive structure to isolate Al-Wasl’s dazzling winger Fabio de Lima. This was in the absence of Patrick Friday Eze, Fujairah’s foreign striker who came from the Serbian League.
A 0-0 draw beckoned and the teams went into the second half with fresh ideas. Salem Abdulla replaced Abdulla Kathim on the left wing for the Cheetahs, and that was a game winning change from Gabriel Calderon. Immediately, the midfield and attack clicked.
Suddenly, Al-Wasl were 2-0 up. A goal from promising attacking midfielder Khalil Khameis in between Al-Wasl’s romp was not enough to put them down. Al-Wasl continued and both Edgar Bruno and Fabio de Lima bagged a brace, with striker Caio adding in a goal of his own.
This led to Al-Ittihad newspaper waxing lyrical on the second half performance, calling it “tiki taka”. It was magical, it was dazzling and it looked like a title winning team against quite a decent side. Yet for all their options in attack, Fujairah have the worst defence (and goalkeeper) in the league.
Al-Dhafra 2-3 Emirates
Stadium: Hamdan Bin Zayed Stadium, Madinat Zayed
“The Greens’ balance claims victory over hasty Al-Dhafra”, read local newspapers. Balance between defence and attack played a big part in Emirates’ victory over Al-Dhafra. It was actually the latter that had the better attack, yet with a lack of concentration against the solid opposition defence.
Emirates continued to play on the counter attack while being wary of any mistakes from their opponents, a strategy which saw them take advantage of their defensive mistakes. Emirates opened the scoring and despite conceding 6 minutes later, took the lead via a brilliant Haitham Ali goal.
Makhete Diop went on to miss a penalty and this resulted in a loss in confidence for himself and the Dhafrawi players. Walid Amber of Al-Ahli (on loan at Emirates) scored his second of the game to widen the gap between Emirates and Al-Dhafra, only for Diop to bring the score back to 3-2.
Despite Barral and Diop’s efforts, Al-Dhafra continue their winless start to the season after 6 games and sit in 13th place, just ahead of Al-Shaab. The real props has to go to winger Mohammad Malallah, who went in goal to replace the sent off goalkeeper Ahmad Al-Shaji and made the game winning save in minute 97, to ensure 3 points.
Al-Wahda 1-3 Al-Ahli
Stadium: Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi
The biggest question before this game was not how disappointed Cosmin Olaroiu was, at the decision by Javier Aguirre to avoid postponing the match. It was, will Rodrigo Lima score? After 50 minutes, AGLeague fans began to worry. Would this be his first match to fail scoring in? No, fortunately. An assist by Everton Ribeiro helped him score the second against Al-Wahda in Abu Dhabi.
Everton Ribeiro, part of the team of the week due to his excellent performance, scored a brace and showed off his partnership with Lima. Both were fine on the ball, fine off the ball and phenomenal as a duo. Credit has to go to Habib Fardan and Majed Hassan though, both of whom protect the Al-Ahli defence.
Al-Wahda set out in an unorthodox 3-6-1 for the first time under Aguirre. Yet Abdulla Al-Noubi, sarcastically nicknamed “Danilo of the Gulf” was dire down the right flank. More so, Kuwaiti international Hussein Fadhel was easily outclassed by the Al-Ahli forwards. The only consolation came via Valdivia’s fantastic goal, but even he found no energy to celebrate it after going 3-0 down.
Al-Shabab 1-4 Al-Ain
Stadium: Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
Felipe Bastos proved his worth by scoring a superb brace that included one of his trademark free kicks against one of the better teams in the league, Al-Shabab. Just a minute into the affair, Omar Abdulrahman opened the scoring.
Felipe Bastos proceeded to make his mark on Emirati football with his free kick, before Jo found a hole in Al-Ain’s defence. Since his arrival from Atletico Mineiro in the summer, Jo has been a fine replacement for Edgar Bruno (now at Al-Wasl), who was known for his movement and teamwork. Jo took advantage of the spaces and despite calls for offside, went on to lessen the deficit to 2-1 before the break.
Yet, Al-Ain continued to cause havoc on the Greens’ defence. They ended up winning a penalty, which went to recent internationally retired striker Emmanuel Emenike. The latter slotted the ball past the ‘keeper Salem Abdullah, to keep the score two goals ahead for the Zaeem, Al-Ain.
Felipe Bastos re-emerged at half time to add a thorn into the backside of Al-Shabab’s defenders. A goal from outside of the box bounced in past Salem Abdullah to effectively end the game after 49 minutes.
Dibba 1-2 Al-Nasr
Stadium: Fujairah Stadium, Fujairah
Dibba’s first half resilience under Theo Bucker wasn’t enough, once again. Despite earning their first win against big boys Al-Jazira a few weeks ago, the former Lebanese national team manager failed to help his team gain another three points to propel themselves away from a relegation battle.
Jires Kembo-Ekoko proved himself as a very valuable signing for Al-Nasr once again, linking up with his partner Johnathan Pitroipa. For all the talk of Kembo being an Al-Ain reject and Pitroipa the same with Al-Jazira, they have been doing quite well to push Al-Nasr to the top spots this season.
Sharjah 2-0 Al-Shaab
Stadium: Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah
This match could have been the biggest match of the week had it seen more goals, but generally the match was entertaining to the big crowd. Both teams’ fans showed up in numbers for the “Smiling Emirate Derby” yet the strikers failed to produce anything of note. Michal Laurent N’dri, the man who score the 94th minute winner for Al-Shaab to promote them to the AGLeague has failed to score at the current time of writing. Sharjah hitman Wanderley was also off par, partly due to Al-Shaab’s resolute defence.
Yet in the end the mistake came from Celio dos Santos, a man who fans loved back in Tabriz, with Tractor Sazi. The centre back misjudged a clearance and lumped the ball into his own net with less than 20 minutes to go on the clock. Young central midfielder Muhain Khalifa assured the King’s fans’ of the win, with a blistering long shot late into the game. 2-0 it was to the Sharjawi who triumphed over their fierce rivals Al-Shaab.
Results and League table after 6 weeks of AGLeague play: http://bit.ly/1WcqIFh
Written by Hamoudi Fayad
Game of the Week
Perspolis 2-1 Siah Jamegan
Perspolis went into the game against Siah Jamegan with their fans expecting the Red Army to win the game in remembrance of Captain Hadi Norouzi who recently passed away, and that’s exactly what they did. They entered the game with massive confidence and although Sosha Makani (Perspolis’s first choice goalkeeper) and Reza Nourmohammadi (Perspolis’s captain) were missing from the game, they kept their composure and got the result.
The game started and although Perspolis were playing away from home in Siah Jamegan’s Samen Stadium, they were dominating the game. The wingers (Omid Alishah and Farshad Ahmadzadeh) were constantly crossing the ball to Mehdi Taremi (Perspolis’s first choice striker and current Persian Gulf Pro League’s Golden Boot contender) but he couldn’t make much from it. He played well and ran through Siah Jamegan’s defense but wasn’t Perspolis’s main star, as Farshad Ahmadzadeh and Omid Alishah were incredible on the wings and were constantly battling against Siah Jamegan’s defense.
The game went on with Perspolis having many attacks on Siah Jamegan’s goal without any major result, however the deadlock broke in the 39th minute as Farshad Ahmadzadeh saw Ramin Rezaeian (Perspolis’s right back) making a great run and crossed the ball exactly where he was for him to score with a beautiful header and make the game 1-0 to Perspolis.
The first half ended with Perspolis players scoring a good goal and getting more confident, and the second half started with the Reds hungry for more! However, Perspolis wasn’t the only motivated team, as Siah Jamegan was desperately looking for an equalizer. But while Siah Jamegan had some decent attacks and a quality free-kick from Reza Enayati (which could’ve gone in if Iman Sadeghi hadn’t punched the ball away), they couldn’t create much and Perspolis was dominating once again.
Just as Siah Jamegan was getting composed, Perspolis got another goal in the 71st minute. Omid Alishah crossed the ball perfectly and Farshad Ahmadzadeh jumped high and headed the ball home for Perspolis to go up 2-0 against Siah Jamegan. After Perspolis’s goal, Siah Jamegan started to attack again but couldn’t make anything from their occasional attacks. Perspolis had a couple other attacks too, with the most notable one coming from Mehdi Taremi who ran through Siah Jamegan’s defense and got fouled in the box, but was shown the yellow card even though he should’ve been awarded a penalty.
After that controversial scene, Siah Jamegan went all out attacking and gave Perspolis’s defenders a hard time. And it only took a few minutes for Siah Jamegan to get a goal back in the 81st minute after they had a couple of serious attacks on Perspolis’s goal. Siah Jamegan’s throw-in was long, and Mohsen Bengar’s clearance was disastrous as the ball fell in front of Alireza Naghizadeh who was horrendously marked by Omid Alishah. Naghizadeh powered the ball in the back of Perspolis’s net and gave hope to his team who desperately wanted to at least snatch one point. Siah Jamegan, however, couldn’t do much after their goal, with Perspolis dominating once again. The Reds could’ve even scored another goal with Jerry Bengtson hitting the cross bar, moments before the game was over. So Perspolis won the game 2-1 against Siah Jamegan, in a game that the Reds were completely dominant and could’ve scored many more goals. It was a brilliant performance and a timely win in loving memory of Captain Hadi Norouzi.
Rest of the Games
Malavan and Sepahan drew 0-0 in a game that the defenders had a better showing than the attackers.
Tractor Sazi won 2-0 against Saipa who seem to have lost their rhythm in their recent games, with Hamza Younes (26’) and Bakhtiar Rahmani (53’) both scoring Tractor’s goals. This result has massively troubled the ex-Tractor boss, Majid Jalali (Saipa’s manager), who is threatened to get sacked if the team doesn’t go back on form.
Esteghlal Tehran drew 1-1 against Esteghlal Khuzestan, with the goals coming from Aghil Kaebi (36’) and Pero Pejić (44’). Esteghlal Tehran is still on top of the table, but their recent form and constant draws could hint at a problematic future.
Saba Qom won 2-1 against Foolad Khuzestan with Foolad’s goal coming from Saman Ansari (23’) and Saba’s goals being scored by Amir Hossein Sadeghi (64’) and Mohammad Ghazi (82’). Foolad is still struggling to get points and haven’t won any of their 9 games in the Persian Gulf Pro League. And however shocking it might sound, Foolad are already favorites to be relegated.
Zob Ahan drew 0-0 with Gostaresh Foolad, and while Yahya Golmohammadi’s Zob Ahan did mainly dominate the game, they were still extremely wasteful.
Naft Tehran won 2-0 against Rah Ahan, with Vahid Amiri (25’) and Arsalan Motahari (89’) scoring Naft’s goals which resulted in their first win in the ongoing Persian Gulf Pro League season!
Esteghlal Ahvaz (who have recently sacked Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh and appointed Ali Hanteh) lost 2-3 to Padideh Khorasan who have contained a decent form throughout the current season. Saeed Salarzadeh (39’) and Farzad Ashoubi (64’) scored Esteghlal’s goals while Younes Shakeri (37’) and Mohammad Yousefi (59’ and 62’) scored Padideh’s three goals.
Written by Armin SH
Game of the Week
Al-Rayyan 5-2 Al-Arabi
This tie is billed as the Clasico of Qatar and every fan of Qatari football saw why on Saturday night at the Al-Arabi Stadium. It had all the ingredients of a thriller, and it lived up to the hype that was being built over the week. The game saw 7 goals, 2 penalties, a red card, inspired performances from new signings, crazy celebrations, tears and even a bizarre botched substitution that left Gianfranco Zola bewildered. Last but not least, the 10,000 odd fans who attended the fans made for a brilliant atmosphere with tifos, huge banners and combined blinking of mobile flashes.
It was Al-Rayyan who took the lead and it came in the 22nd minute. Al-Arabi keeper Rajab Hamza was adjudged to have brought down Rodrigo Tabata in what was a controversial decision. The Rayyani fans didn’t mind and roared when Tabata converted the spot kick with ease. At the stroke of halftime, the lead was doubled when new signing Mohammed Jumua al-Alawi who marauded forward and poked the ball past Rajab.
After the restart, Al-Arabi seemed to be a better team and they deservedly cut the deficit when Musaab Mahmoud finished off a pass from Dutra in the 55th minute. And then, the complexion of the match changed with a red card to Rajab. In the 63rd minute, the keeper brought down Soria in the box and the referee gave him his marching orders, leaving Al-Arabi with a heavy task to do with only ten men. Tabata scored from the penalty and then only a minute later, set up Sergio Garcia to make it 4-1.
By then, Al-Arabi fans had started leaving the ground in disappointment and many of them missed the goal that Yousef Ahmed created. The substitute won the ball from Nathan and poked it to Paulinho who finished into an empty net to make the score 4-2.
In the middle of the second half, there was a bizarre incident in the dugout when Dame Traore was not allowed to come on as he wasn’t able to remove a ring from his finger. This left Zola exasperated, adding to the woes of a woeful night for the Arabi gaffer.
Rest of the Games
Mesaimeer 2-1 Al-Kharaitiyat
Promoted Mesaimeer brought to an end their winless and goalless run of matches after triumphing 2-1 over Al-Kharaitiyat. Veteran striker Yahia Kebe had given Al-Kharaitiyat the lead in the 11th minute but the Flames of Mesaimeer shone brightly and never lost their spirit. Erivelto Silva score Mesaimeer’s first ever QSL goal before adding one more to register his team’s historic first ever QSL win.
Al-Wakrah 2-1 Al-Gharafa
Al-Gharafa suffered their second successive defeat after starting the season well. This time it was Mouhcine Moutouali and Al-Wakrah who did the damage. Although Anas Mubarak took the lead for Al-Gharafa in the 58th minute, Moutouali cancelled it out in the 74th. And then at the fag end of the match, he won and converted a penalty to break Gharfawi hearts.
El Jaish 2-0 Lekhwiya
Abderrazak Hamdallah just can’t stop scoring and after his brace against Lekhwiya, one might wonder if he will run away with the Top Scorer award. His goals in the 4th and the 12th minutes were his 7th and 8th in the league and gave his team a valuable victory over the close rivals and defending champions Lekhwiya. Djamel Belmadi has a lot to work on if he is to bring his underperforming team back to the top.
Al-Sadd 0-0 Al-Khor
Xavi and his Al-Sadd team are not really having it their way in the QSL. They wasted an opportunity to put pressure on league leaders Rayyan when they were held to a goalless stalemate by a resolute Al-Khor. Khor keeper Baba Djibril was brilliant in goal with Al-Sadd simply unable to breach his guard, despite having a numerical advantage following the red card to Nayef al-Braiki.
Al-Ahli 3-0 Qatar SC
It was the same story again for the black-and-yellow brigade of Qatar SC as they lost yet again. The 3-0 reverse against Al-Ahli consigned Qatar to the bottom of the table with no wins so far. Al-Ahli’s goal all came in the second half, with Mujtaba Jabbari and Meshaal Abdullah both netting from penalties before former Qatar SC striker Abdulla al-Kuwari scored with a fine finish. A few days later, Radhi Shneishil lost his job and Sebastiao Lazaroni was roped in once again.
Al-Sailiya 1-2 Umm Salal
Al-Sailiya may have thought they were on the way to a third win of the season when they took the lead against Umm Salal through Mustafa Mohamed’s header. Syrian forward Ismail Mohammed equalised in the 47th before Sailiya star Fouzi Ayesh was sent off. After that, things went downhill for the Falcons. Ismail set up Jeremie Aliadiere to complete the comeback win in the 79th minute.
POSTPONED MATCH (ROUND 1)
Al Gharafa 1-1 Lekhwiya
The empire seems to be crumbling at Lekhwiya. Djamel Belmadi’s men have now failed to win in their last three matches following this draw against Al-Gharafa. The result did no favours to Gharafa either, whose captain Bilal Mohammed had put them ahead in the 60th minute only for Vladimir Weiss to equalise with a brilliant strike only two minutes later. In the 88th minute, Weiss had a chance to give his team a much-needed win after being given a penalty but to the shock of everyone at Lekhwiya, he messed it up. Some run of form this has been for the Cops.
Written by Ahmed Hashim
Omani fans broke the league record once again as 14,000 fans attended the huge match up between Al-Suwaiq and Sohar. The latter have been involved in their second crunch match in 7 days. They drew 0-0 with Saham in the Oman Derby, and now faced revitalised and undefeated Al-Suwaiq.
Both teams were aware of each other’s strengths, and started off with caution especially in midfield. Sohar earned the best of the chance in the first 15 minutes after taking their chances against Al-Suwaiq goalkeeper Suleiman Al-Buraiki.
Sohar proceeded to take the lead before Mohammad Aflay equalised with a calculated free kick, only for Sohar to take the lead again. As Sohar were prepared to continue their rise towards the top spots Al-Suwaiq scored an equaliser in injury time to deny Sohar a valuable and extra two points. Both teams share their positions with 9 points, near the top 4.
The fans were the biggest talking point of the game. Abderrazak Kheiri (manager of Al-Suwaiq) and Abdulnasser Makees (manager of Sohar) both complemented the fans, whose performance was outstanding.
Results and League table after 6 weeks of Oman Pro League play: http://bit.ly/1H9LDwo
Riffa turned out victors in the “Riffa Derby” between themselves and East Riffa. A single goal separated both teams at the Bahrain National Stadium in the opening week of the VIVA Bahrain Premier League.
Riffa were able to score the only goal of the game in the second half, where East Riffa and Bahraini International Abdulla Al-Hazza scored an own goal. It was actually East Riffa who threatened to open the scoring via Saad Al-Amer in the 6th minute, who hit the post with a dangerous shot.
Mohammad Al-Tayeb came on just 12 minutes in to provide a spark in attack for (West) Riffa, replacing the injured winger Ahmad Jalal in the process. This worked as both Al-Tayeb and Onouha Ogbonna grabbed their chances in the 25th and 26th minute respectively, only to miss.
Bahraini national team right winger Sami Al-Husseini, and new signing for East Riffa, had his pace and trickery on show as he powerfully struck a shot towards opposition ‘keeper Hamad Al-Dossary. The rest of the first half ended with nothing to note of, as both teams were limited to a 0-0 scoreline.
Onouha Ogbonna started the second half with a bang, only 6 minutes into the proceedings. A cross inside to threaten East Riffa defenders succeeded as Abdullah Al-Hazza put the ball in his own net. This saw Adam Alis Setyano exit the pitch in favour of Ali Abdulla in ’56, with the Indonesian attacking midfielder not providing anything of note
Famed Bahraini referee Nawaf Shukrallah only had one yellow card to pull out in this outing, which was very drab considering the weight of the derby. Abdulla Al-Janahi tried his best to equalise late in the game but Ali Khalil made a successful goal line clearance, to end the game at 1-0 for Riffa.
The rest of the results in the Bahraini League, which saw Bahraini Champions Muharraq strikers’ Ismail Abdullatif and Iraqi Mustafa Kareem grab two goals each in a 4-0 drubbing of Malkiya: http://bit.ly/1kQeLEr
Al-Jahra grabbed a valuable 3 points from 2014/15 VIVA Kuwaiti League runner-up Al-Arabi, in a match on Sunday evening at the Mubarak Al-Ayyar Stadium. Only two weeks into the season, Al-Jahra will want to build on their 3rd place finish with now-Lebanon manager Miodrag Radulovic last season.
Al-Jahra scored two goals in the space of four minutes, via Elias. Syrian striker and Kuwaiti League icon Firas Al-Khatib continued his goalscoring, with a penalty in the 61st minute. Yet Al-Jahra, despite their win, only stand on 3 points currently after their loss to Salmiya in the opening week.
Qadsia are the league’s heavy starters after scoring their 8th goal in a recent match against Al-Sahel. A 5-2 win was enough to see off the challenge of Al-Sahel. Albeit the lackluster performance from Al-Sahel, they did score a fantastic goal in between the rest of Qadsia’s romp. Doris Salomo rised to the top of the goalscoring rankings with a hat trick.
Salmiya destroyed Kazma 4-1 at the latter’s home stadium in what could be described as an embarrassment for Florin Motroc’s team. Both Jordanians Oday Al-Saify (Salmiya) and Saeed Murjan (Kazma) scored in this game too, to the delight of Jordanian media outlets. However it was Hamad Al-Enezi who wowed the fans with his double-goal display.
This was Kazma’s second defeat, with the first coming against Kuwaiti League holders Kuwait SC (4-0) in the first round. The latter took a rest this week, due to the league’s odd number of teams after Al-Tadamon pulled out of the league and Burgan confirmed that they would only participate in cup competitions.
The rest of the league’s results, plus the league table: http://bit.ly/1Hb1RW1
A disastrous week for the Jordanian League’s managers it was. 6 managers (out of 12) have already been sacked just 4 weeks into the league season! Who will be next?
Moving on, after Hussein Irbid lost 5-1 to newly-promoted Kufrsoum in a shocking match, they went on to defeat Jordanian League giants and Champions Wehdat 1-0! This match had small effect though, with Wehdat staying on 9 points at the top of the table while Hussein Irbid moved up into 7th place with 5 points.
Akram Al-Zuwi scored the opener in the 17th minute for Hussein, after a cross that came from Ahmad Ghazi’s corner. It all began with Hussein’s new tactical blend, which helped them control the game. Mohammad Abu Zreiq and Anas Bani Yaseen provided a benchmark in central defence for Suleiman Al-Salman and Suleiman Al-Azzam to maraud down their respective flanks. Akram Al-Zuwi and Mohammad Abu Zeitoun switched between their positions (striker and attacking midfield, respectively) to avoid being marked by Wehdat’s defenders.
Wehdat’s 4-5-1 formation was organised, but inefficient especially in attack. The lone striker failed to work the channels adequately to threaten the opposition. Their changes in the second half saw a more dense attack that looked to pressurize the Hussein defenders. But it was the Irbid-based team who held onto the victory…
Newly promoted Kufrsoum are getting into their rhythm after the departure of their former manager Bilal Al-Lahham. Two losses under the former saw him leave the club after internal issues, but the fresher Kufrsoum have started to become visible with 4 points in their last two games.
Kufrsoum successfully got into this game with speed and intensity with thanks to their midfield quartet in the middle of the park. They provided the strikers with fast and smart passes. Kufrsoum played with freedom and were better at reaching the opposition’s goal. Baqa’a came into the match with a 4-5-1 formation that was highly defensive, afraid of the danger that Kufrsoum’s players could inflict, especially Marwan Obeidat.
However, Baqa’a overturned the dominance in the second half to a good start of their own and controlled the match better than their opponents, whose level worsened throughout the match. The goal scored by them saw the team become more urgent in their bid to win, but Kufrsoum’s defence positioned themselves perfectly to avoid a late loss. FT Score: 1-1.
In Amman, Al-Jazeera tied 0-0 with Al-Ahli – the team who eliminated Wehdat from the Jordan Cup early into the tournament. This was a game that was largely quiet due to both teams’ reluctance to open up and attack. The praise has to be given to Ahmad Abdulsattar, who saved everything in his way to help Al-Jazeera come out with a respectable point. His team were unable to produce anything threatening in attack, with 4 attacks the most they could do on a disappointing night.
The rest of the week’s results and matches: http://bit.ly/1WiJQfq
The fourth matchday of Wataniya Mobile Pro League was played during the past weekend.
This matchday staged three ‘Mini Derbies’, what added some excitement and prestige for the atmosphere, which currently isn’t so positive with the Saudi-Palestinian World Qualifier Saga, and the ongoing conflict in the West Bank, between Palestine and Israel.
The Refugees Camps’ Classic, Clásico Al-Mukhayamat, between Shabab Al-Am’ary of Al-Bireh and Al-Gid’an Markz Balata of Nablus, was held at the Faisal Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram. The game started in a little late, after local protesters from Al-Ram got into clashes with the Israeli Defense Forces near the stadium. During the match itself Adham Abu Ruys gave Balata the lead with a half-a-volley rebound, while Al-Am’ary tied the result with a brilliant free kick of Ahmad Khawity. On the 78’ minute Abd Al-Hamid Abu Habib managed to score from a close range, in order to secure Balata’s victory, 2-1.
Shabab Al-Khaleel continued their promising start for the season, and gained a 1-0 victory over Shabab Dora, at the ‘Small Derby’ of Hebron County, with a good performance from Haytham Dheeb in defence. Dora, hometown of Palestinian Football Association’s chairman, Mr. Jibril Rajoub, was hosting the match, which saw Mahmoud Abu Warda scores the winner for the Khaleelies. Shabab Al-Khaleel achieved important 3 points before next week Classic against Dahariya, while Dura was left disappointed and troubled at the lower side of the table.
Al-Khader stadium is home for the biggest teams in Bet Lehem area – Taraji Wad Al-Nes and Shabab Al-Khader. Taraji arrived at the match after their first win of the season last week, but couldn’t compete with Al-Khader’s quality squad. Sameh Mar’abeh, the new rising star of Palestinian football, scored one, while Ali Adawy added the second. Taraji’s play did not match the professional level, and it looks like the club will continue its struggle at the lower parts of Dauri Al-Mukhtarifin.
The main match of this matchday was the one involved Hilal Al-Quds and Shabab Dahariya. Dahariya took the lead after a good run and a cold finish by Mohammed Fodeh. Daharaiya was about to conquer the top of table, but at the 87th minute Fady Zidan nailed the equalizer for the Jerusalemites. Hilal Al-Quds is suffering a bad opening for the season despite some major investments in the transfer window, while Dahariya is sharing the 1st place with Shabab Al-Khaleel.
Written by Babagoaaal (Uri Levy)
Al-Zawraa, the only unbeaten team in Iraq’s two group format, and last season’s league champions Naft Al-Wasat are on course to qualify from Group A as they both picked up victories on match day seven of the Fuchs Iraqi league. Loay Salah with two and Mohanad Abdul-Rahim with his sixth goal this season was enough to see Al-Nawaras beat Naft Al-Maysan.
Naft Al-Wasat who slipped to second in the league after a shock 3-1 defeat away to promoted Samawa last week, returned to winning ways with a comfortable win over bottom of the table Duhok, with goals from Amjad Walid, Jassim Mohammed and Syrian defender Alaa Al-Shbli, who also netted past his own keeper.
The next two rounds of matches will see the Iraqi champions take on this season’s surprise team in Group A, Al-Naft and leaders Al-Zawraa. Hossam Al-Sayed’s high-flyers Al-Minaa stretched their lead in Group B to four points with a convincing 1-0 win over Al-Shurta at the Al-Karkh Stadium.
Syrian striker Omar Khrebin rounded the keeper to score the winner, his fourth in three league games and he now tops the goalscorers’ charts with seven goals. Second placed Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya continued their slump with another defeat at Zakho. Amir Sabah’s double compounded Sabah Abdul-Jalil’s men to their 3rd defeat in the last four matches and looked to have lost the services of top scorer Hamadi Ahmed for a month after he was stretchered off with a broken jaw.
Four-time champions Arbil have been rejuvenated this season under Thair Ahmed and are up to third in the group. A 3-1 win at Al-Najaf has stretched their unbeaten run to five matches. The Yellow Citadel had been predicted to struggle after they were forced to release most of their squad in the close season due to financial problems but the league’s joint top scorers with 11 goals look on course to qualify for the final stage on current form.
Written by Hassanin Mubarak
Al Safa 4-0 Sagesse
After a stunning performance in the first round, Safa won the first game of the second Round against Sagesse Achrafiye, 4-0 to keep themselves on top of the league.
As usual, Safa scored an early goal by National Team Player Zein Tahan (min. 4′). Ten minutes later, his teammate Hazimeh scored the second goal for the Yellow Castle after a huge mistake from Sagesse’s goal keeper Nazih Taha, which leave many question marks on Al Sagesse’s Shaky defensive performance. Al-Safa quickly killed Sagesse’s hope to come back in the game with a stunner in the 22th minutes by the talented Mohammed Haidar.
In the second half, the newly promoter team tried to coma back but Al-Safa’s defenders were brilliant and were able to keep another clean sheet this season, meanwhile Sheikh Dyouk scored the 4th goal in the game (min. 87).
Al-Ahed 3-0 Shabeb Al-Ghazieh
Moving to the second game, after a shocking loss in the first round against Nabi Chit everyone started wondering what happened to the champions but the ALFA Lebanese champions Al-Ahed defeated Shabab Ghazieh, 3-0.
Al-Ahed finished the job in the First Half scoring three goals in 15 minutes, Starting with Hussein Dakik in the 13th minutes, then Khalil Khamis 7 minutes later while the 3rd goals was scored by Al-Ahed’s foreign The Senegalese striker Drame. In the second half, Al-Ahed kept their domination and could add more goals if their strikers were focused but at the end, Al-Ahed grabbed the first three points in the season.
Tripoli 1-1 Ijtimai
The awaited Tripoli Derby finished 1-1 after a great performance from both teams. Oboku scored for the Second Division Champions while Mostapha Kasaa scored for the Lebanese Cup holders. Ex-Salam Zgharta’s Striker Abu Baker Al-Mal showed an improvement in his second game with his new team and Tripoli FC fans are optimistic with the striker’s perfrormance and they’re sure that he will show his full potential in the upcoming games.
And one thing to spot was the game’s atmosphere, which was superb thanks to both team’s fans. Hopefully this will effect positively on the league this season.
On the other side, Al Nabi Chit won their second game against Shabab Al-Sahel 1-0, scored by the shining player Khaled Al-Saleh. It was marred by the fact that star striker Abdoulaye Kanoute broke his leg and had no first aid to help him! Players had to carry him off the pitch.
Written by Abed Aydin
*Beirut Derby between Nejmeh and Ansar postponed until November 11.