Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal as Al Ahli beat FUS Rabat 1-0 to win the Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup.
The Ghana captain’s second-minute strike proved enough to see off a powerful Moroccan side to win The Emirati-Moroccan Super Cup, adding to last month’s triumph in the Arabian Gulf Super Cup.
The sight of Gyan being stretchered off – one which Al Ain and parent club Shanghai SIPG became sadly familiar with during the preceding two seasons – thanks to a muscle problem followed soon after he swept his side ahead.
Focus and control was also ceded in the second half as forwards Adam Ennaffati and – most glaringly – Yusupha Njie threatened for the visitors, who are yet to begin their top-flight defence because of last month’s run to the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals.
But these are worries for next weekend, when lowly Dibba Al Fujairah travel to Dubai.
A repeat of the fevered 60,000-plus crowd which witnessed the inaugural running in Morocco between Al Ain and Wydad Casablanca was never likely. Instead, the 3,735 souls who headed to Rashid Stadium needed to be punctual.
UAE midfielder Habib Fardan flicked a loose ball almost from kick-off onto loanee Gyan, who supplied a first-time finish inside the penalty box to make it five goals during his first six games.
The expected red wave failed to follow. As the waylaid goalscorer watched on from the sidelines and animated coach Cosmin Olaroiu’s frustrations boiled over towards his 90th-minute dismissal, FUS came into the ascendancy.
They dominated after the break. The Gambia youth international Njie forced a fine save from UAE No1 Majed Nasser with a dipping half-volley and shockingly ballooned over with 10 minutes left.
Centre-back Ass Mandaw Sy and substitute El Mehdi Bettache then twice went close from set-pieces, but Ahli held out.
It wasn’t all positives for the hosts as the Arabian Gulf League and Botola champions clashed for the second time.