Shabab Al-Ahli crowned Arabian Gulf Cup champions for the fifth time


Shabab Al-Ahli won the Arabian Gulf Cup after edging past Al Nasr on penalties. 

Mahdi Ali became the first Emirati to lift the League Cup as he secured his second title since returning to the club having already won the Arabian Super Cup earlier in the season. Al Ahli are now 21 games unbeaten in all competitions.

The Red Knights held their nerve in a quite nervy but entertaining shootout, as they took the crown back from the Blues.

It’s not over for either team as they meet again in similar conditions next month. The President Cup final awaits, Al Nasr will look to seek revenge whilst Al Ahli can make it a treble winning season if they were to claim the title.

The match ended goalless but two outstanding sides did not disappoint with plenty of chances and drama.

Al Ahli came into this game with confidence, considering their form in the league and started the better of both teams with Federico Cartabia rattling the woodwork in the opening 10 minutes from a free-kick.

Roman Diaz’s side had chances to open the scoring, first from defender Saeed Suwaidan who went close but blasted his chance wide of goal, then Israeli international Diaa Saba saw his effort saved by Majed Naser.

The Al-Ahli goalkeeper who was initially the hero on the night pulled off some stunning saves which included a close range effort from Mehdi Abeid.

The reigning champions went down to ten men after Glauber Lima’s dangerous challenge on Igor Jesus. The Brazilian initially was shown a yellow card but after the referee consulted with VAR, the decision was changed to a straight red.

Al Ahli put the pressure on their opponents following the dismissal but couldn’t take advantage as Carlos Eduardo was denied by the challenge of Tariq Ahmed.

The second half didn’t see as much action as the first. Shabab Al Ahli were awarded a penalty after Jaloliddan Masharipov was fouled in the box. The Nasr players were frustrated with the decision as they surrounded the referee who went to check his monitor for the second time in the game and the spot kick was overturned.

The Blues didn’t threaten much but were offered a helping hand as Al Ahli centre back Mohammed Marzooq was shown a second yellow card following his challenge on Sebastian Tagliabue.

The Red Knights had the best opportunity late on but Eduardo misplaced his header. After 90 minutes both sides couldn’t find that winning goal and the final was decided through a penalty shootout.

Al Nasr had been in this position before as they got to got this stage having beaten Ittihad Kalba in the second leg.

Carlos Eduardo stepped up first for Al Ahli and saw his penalty saved brilliantly by Mohammed Shambieh who had a fantastic game and was unlucky to be on the losing side. Toze followed up for the Blues but skied his spot kick high.

Hamdan Al-Kamali slotted home whilst Gabriel Valentini did the same. Igor Jesus couldn’t follow on as Nasr goalkeeper Shambieh was there again to deny the 20-year-old with an excellent stop.

Sebastian Tagliabue converted to give the Blues the advantage as both sides slotted home their penalties. The decisive spot kick was put on the hands of Ryan Mendes, who was denied by Majed Naser to send the shoot-out into sudden death.

Abdelelazis Sanqour and Al-Balochi both found the back of the net in a nail biting finish. Jalodliddin Masharipov calmly put his effort away putting the pressure back on Al Nasr and Mohmmed Ayed who had the final say sending his spot kick wide to hand Shabab Al Ahli victory.

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