At the End of the 8th Week of the Excellent Football Tournament  Three Rivals at the Top [Archives:1999/07/Sports]

February 15 1999

The Ahli-Sanaa team continued its unbeaten streak since the start of the 1999 Excellent Football Tournament, strengthening its position as the best team in Yemen. At the end of the 8th week of the tournament Ahli-Sanaa was able to defeat Hodeidah’s Al-Hilal team 0/2 on Al-Hilal’s own field and surrounded by Hilal’s fans.
In the first half of the match, Al-Hilal made a strong attack on Al-Ahli’s goal, which almost resulted in a goal. However, Al-Ahli responded quickly with a goal by Sami Al-Heimi who surprised Al-Hilal’s defenders and scored the first goal of the match. The tension increased when some players from Al-Hilal said that the goal was scored from offside and argued strenuously against the goal. After the first goal, Al-Hilal players worked hard to balance the score and save themselves from a loss in front of their own spectators, but Al-Ahli was too strong. Not only was Al-Ahli able to resist the attacks, but it also made a very elegant play with the ball that made even Al-Hilal fans shout in excitement at the perfection of Al-Ahli’s performance. The Al-Hilal players were confused and frustrated by Al-Ahli’s performance, and were unable to make any response. The first half-hour of the match ended with another spectacular goal from Al-Ahli’s Adel Al-Salimi. In total shock, Al-Hilal desperately tried to make some attacks of their own, but their unorganized attacks were no real danger to Al-Ahli.
In the second half, both teams’ coaches changed their strategies and replaced some players in hopes of scoring. For the first 15 minutes of the second half, Al-Hilal controlled the match in the mid-field area. However, it was not long until Al-Ahli took over the match again, stopping all of Al-Hilal’s efforts during the first minutes of the second half. Al-Ahli then attempted to add to its lead, and had some strong attacks, but to no avail. The tough defense of Al-Hilal killed Al-Ahli’s hope of scoring a third goal, and the match ended with a 0/2 win for Al-Ahli. This certified that Al-Ahli is not only strong in attack, but its defense is also powerful. For yet another week, Al-Ahli of Sanaa has maintained its number one ranking in the football tournament.
Al-Shaab Ibb Gains a Tough Victory
The strongest contender for the first place ranking of Al-Ahli of Sanaa, Al-Shaab of Ibb had to win its match with Taliya Taiz to maintain its hopes of the lead. It was an important match for Al-Shaab, and it had its hands full with the Taliya team, which proved itself a tough opponent. As a matter of fact, Taliya of Taiz had the upper hand during the entire first half of the match. It kept pressing Al-Shaab until it managed to score its first goal in the first half. In the second half, the game was completely different. Al-Shaab of Ibb began to put pressure on Taliya, and after many attempts was able to equalize the score at one all. Knowing that they had to have a win to maintain their hopes of improving in the standings, Al-Shaab pushed hard for the victory, and got it. It scored its second goal in the last minutes of the match, sending the Taliya players into shock at the complete turnaround of their fortunes. Because of this win, the point difference between the top two is still only 2 points. Al-Shaab of Ibb continues its climb to the top, and now can only hope that Al-Ahli will lose one of its upcoming matches and the lead. Al-Shaab keeps its hope of becoming the tournament leader alive with this victory over Taliya.
Al-Wahda of Sanaa Still Vying for the Top Spot
In order to advance its position in the tournament rankings, Al-Wahda of Sanaa had to win the match with Al-Tilal. The first half of the match ended with no score. Feeling the danger of a possible draw, Al-Wahda started the second half with some strong attacks on Al-Tilal’s goal. However, Al-Tilal wasn’t looking for anything less than a victory. Al-Tilal pressured Al-Wahda’s defense intensively, and almost scored. However, Al-Wahda succeeded in scoring in the 11th minute of the second half with a surprise attack Zakariya Al-Qasoos. But everyone who knew Al-Tilal realized that the response would be strong, and indeed it was. Al-Tilal managed to equalize the score on a goal by Fathi Jaber. In the 78th minute however, Al-Wahda’s Nassir Ghazy scored, and Ankad of Al-Wahda scored in the 87th minute. Even though Al-Tilal managed to score a second goal, it was too little too late and Al-Wahda continued its race to the top by winning the match 2/3.
All this has further intensified the fight for the top between the three teams Al-Ahli of Sanaa, Al-Shaab of Ibb, and Al-Wahda of Sanaa. No one knows who will be the leader at the end of next week’s matches. All we can do is wait and see.
The match results for the 8th week of the Excellent Footbal Tournament were as follows:
Al-Ittihad dominated Shaab Hadhramaut (4/0)
Al-Wahda of Sanaa beat Al-Tilal (2/3)
Al-Shaab of Ibb wins against Taliya of Taiz (2/1)
Al-Saqr defeated Al-Majd (2/1)
Wahda of Aden wins against Al-Shula (2/1)
Al-Ahli of Sanaa defeats Al-Hilal (2/0)
A draw between Hassan and Al-Zuhra (0/0)