Arabian Gulf League Review: Al Ain hit seven, Olaroiu apologises for Al Ahli humbling
Al Ain thrashed struggling Ajman 7-1 on Friday to keep pace with Arabian Gulf League leaders Al Jazira, despite the continued absence of star man Asamoah Gyan - who is yet to return to domestic action following his Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Saeed Al Kathiri proved lethal in the early exchanges, scoring twice in 16 minutes to open a two-goal advantage, with Jires Kembo-Ekoko and Diaky Ibrahim ensuring a 4-0 lead at half-time.
Boris Kabi pulled one back for the visitors in the 65th minute, but Al Ain added further goals through Rashed Essa, Kembo-Ekoko and Miroslav Stoch.
Like Ajman, reigning champions Al Ahli were also on the end of a comprehensive defeat, with their 4-0 loss at home to Al Wasl prompting under-fire coach Cosmin Olaroiu to issue a public apology.
The result leaves Al Ahli 13 points adrift of the top two, with Al Jazira's 2-0 win at Emirates keeping Eric Gerets' men tied alongside Al Ain in the title race, though the latter have a game in hand.
Third-placed Al Wahda remain four points behind on 32 points after beating Bani Yas 3-1 on Thursday, while Al Nasr held on to a 1-1 draw at home to Al Shabab to keep their AFC Champions League hopes alive, despite seeing captain Mahmou Khamis sent off just before the break.
An 89th-minute goal from Yousif Saeed Juma denied rock-bottom Al Ittihad Kalba only their fifth point of the season, as Al Sharjah stole a 2-1 win on Saturday.
Saturday's other game saw Al Fujairah come away from Al Dhafra with a goalless draw.