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Shabab and Ittifaq crush UAE rivals
By Abdullah Al-Hariri Saudi Gazette
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 04 - 2009

Saudi clubs kept alive their winnings streak over their Emirati rivals at the AFC Champions League Wednesday.
Saudi club Al-Ittifaq beat its UAE opponent Al-Shabab 4-1 at the Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Stadium in the Eastern Province, while the other Kingdom's side Al-Shabab downed Emirati Sharjah 3-1 in an away game.
On Tuesday, Al-Hilal had won 2-1 over UAE's Al-Ahli in Riyadh a week after the Saudi national team beat the UAE squad 3-2 in their 2010 World Cup qualifiers at the same venue. Al-Ittihad had played out a goalless draw against Al-Jazira.
On Wednesday Tagoe and Saleh Bashir each scored twice as the Dammam-based club scored a convincing win, which put Al-Ittifaq on top of Group D standings with six points, two clear of the second-placed Foolad Sepahan of Iran which drew 2-2 with Uzbek side Bunyodkor.
Ghanaian striker Tagoe put Al-Ittifaq ahead after six minutes before Saleh Bashir doubled the home side's lead 10 minutes later.
Al-Shabab players created many chances after the two goals but Al-Ittifaq's goalkeeper Hassan Shian stood like a wall. Mohammed Ali Juma pulled one back for Al-Shabab seconds before the break when he blasted the ball into Ittifaq goal from outside the box.
In the 76th minute, Bashir extended Al-Ittifaq's lead with a header while Tagoe sealed the win in the 82nd minute.
Al-Shabab, meanwhile, had to thank Nasser Al-Shamrani, Abdu Autef and Marcelo Camacho for the come-from-behind win. Anderson Barbosa gave the host team the lead in the 11th minute at the Sharjah Stadium, but Al-Shamrani equalized for Al-Shabab in the 20th.
Autef made it 2-1 in the 42nd and Marcelo Camachoo added Al-Shabab's third in the 52nd.
Al-Shabab and Iranian club Piroozi Athletic lead Group B with seven points each. Sharjah is at the bottom with zero points from three games. Piroozi defeated Qatar's Al-Gharafa 3-1 in Tehran.
Japan's Gamba Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale, meanwhile, remained group front-runners with 5-0 wins also Wednesday.
Defending champion Gamba predictably thrashed Indonesia's Sriwijaya, while Kawasaki dominated Australia's out-of-form Central Coast Mariners.
Gamba became the only perfect team in the league, with three wins from as many matches in Group F, while leaving Sriwijaya marooned without a point at the bottom. In the other group match, China's Shandong Luneng had a 2-0 home win over South Korea's FC Seoul.
Kawasaki stayed top of Group H, two points ahead of South Korea's Pohang Steelers, who had a 1-0 home victory over China's Tianjin Teda. Central Coast was third, ahead of Tianjin.
“They were just too good for us,” Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said. “We went from a great performance in China to our worst ever tonight.” __


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