Sharjah close in on President’s Cup final berth


Sharjah and Ajman players in action during their President’s Cup semi-final match.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

A buoyant Sharjah defeated visitors Ajman, 2-1 in the first leg of the President’s Cup semis on Wednesday to put one foot in the final of the prestigious tournament.

Sharjah, who are the defending champions, put up a resilient performance after a dour first half ended in a goalless draw.

Sharjah opened scoring through Al Kasir in the 59th minute to break the deadlock after the match seemed to be heading for a draw.

Othman Kamara added the second goal three minutes later to make it 2-0, leaving Ajman to do the catching-up job. Ajman tried hard to curtail the deficit. But they failed to penetrate the water-tight defence of Sharjah.

It was in the 71st minute they succeeded in scoring their first goal through Firas Belarabi to narrow the gap. The goal brought a temporary relief in Ajman’s Cup and they must have started fancying their chances of a come-from-behind victory.

But their joy was short lived as Sharjah tighten their defence and did not allow Ajman to score their second goal even. With the victory, Sharjah have already taken a giant leap towards the defence of their title.

The two teams will meet again in a decisive match on the fourteenth of this month in the second leg to book their berth in the final of the most expensive tourney of the country.

Elsewhere, Al Wasl and Al Ain played a goalless draw in the first leg of the President’s Cup semi-final at the Zabeel Stadium on Wednesday.

Both the team had come with the intent of not conceding goals and keeping their slate clean. They seemed to rely more on their defence than attack.

Al Ain, who are second in the Pro League, kept their cool and lived up to the billing of being in the top three. They frustrated Al Wasl on their home ground in the presence of thousands of fans to deny them any goal.

Al Wasl spurned a golden chance and could not capitalize on the home advantage. It might be a little difficult for Al Wasl in the return leg as Al Ain are very dangerous on their home ground.

Al Ain need to beat them with the slimmest margin in the second leg on the home turf to book their final showdown with either Ajman or Sharjah. They will play the second leg of the semifinal on the fourteenth of this month at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.

Meanwhile, the UAE Football Association launched the “Thank you, our leadership” initiative during the first leg matches of the President’s Cup semi-finals.

This initiative comes in recognition of the efforts and wisdom of the wise leadership, which placed the United Arab Emirates at the forefront of prosperous countries, and made the UAE the most prosperous and advanced country.

The initiative is an expression of the feelings of the Emirati football family towards the wise leadership, its efforts and achievements, as the semi-final matches of the President’s Cup between Al Wasl and Al Ain, and Sharjah and Ajman were an opportunity to express loyalty and loyalty to the wise leadership.

The initiative witnessed interaction from the players of Al Wasl, Al Ain, Sharjah and Ajman teams, as well as the great public interaction.

The UAE football has grown by leaps and bound and is a force to reckon with at the international stage in the continental competition. They have a very strong base to develop football at the grass-root level. UAE Pro League is considered as one of the best among the Asian leagues.


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