Manchester City and Al Jazira ensure Eid to remember in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi had a double celebration on Tuesday night as two clubs close to the hearts of the people of the UAE capital claimed landmark titles.

Firstly, over in England, Manchester City regained the English Premier League as they took an un assailable lead in the table thanks to Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City. The triumph is the fifth in 10 years for the club, owned by Sheikh Mansour’s City Football Group.

Less than an hour later as midnight approached in the UAE, Al Jazira ensured there would be an Eid celebration to remember as the ‘Pride of Abu Dhabi’ defeated Khor Fakkan 3-1 to claim the Arabian Gulf League crown, their third in the past decade.

Pep Guardiola’s City produced one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the EPL in recent times as they were languishing eight points off the lead in November and way down in 11th place in the standings after eight games. But, after a limp 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur, Guardiola turned City’s campaign around, embarking on a 28-match unbeaten run — including an insane 21-match winning streak in all competitions, and they were runaway leaders by the start of April and it was only a matter of time before they sealed their third title in four years.

Guardiola can put the icing on the cake at the end of the month when City face Chelsea in their first Champions League final.

Manchester City fans were celebrating a third EPL title in four years Image Credit: AP

Back in the UAE, Al Jazira have had to wait a little longer since their last triumph in their domestic league, with their previous title coming back in 2016-17. However, under the tutelage of Marcel Keizer, and the guidance of skipper and goalkeeper Ai Khaseif, the Black and Whites have risen back to the top. During a season in which they reeled in and then overtook the early season pacesetters Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, it was another Abu Dhabi side Bani Yas that emerged as their main contenders in the closing stages.

While City closed things out in England with three games to spare, Al Jazira had to wait until the final day of the season on Tuesday, but their 3-1 win over Khor Fakkan — thanks to a brace from Oumar Traore either side of a strike from Golden Shoe winner Ali Mabkhout — meant Bani Yas were powerless to stop their title rivals, who went into the clash one point ahead.

Bani Yas had to settle for second spot after a 1-1 home draw with Al Jazira’s neighbours Al Wahda.

While the teams will reset over the summer and go again for next season, more success for Abu Dhabi is surely just around the corner. But for now, the UAE capital can celebrate Eid with an even bigger smile than usual.

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