Al Ahli surged to the top of the 12-team 2023-24 Nasser bin Hamad Premier League table with a 1-0 win over Hidd at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium last night.
The five-time champions, whose last title win came in 2009-10, now have 14 points from eight games, one ahead of defending champions Khaldiya, who have 13 points from seven games and could overtake Al Ahli if they win against Riffa tonight.
The win was set up by Hasan Madan with a first-half goal in the 43rd minute.
Hidd, meanwhile, languish in the lower half of the table with only seven points from eight games, punctuated by five losses and only two wins.
Meanwhile, in the other game last night, Al Hala stunned East Riffa 1-0, at the Bahrain National Stadium, courtesy of a second-half goal by Ghanaian centre-forward Daniel Asante to move into joint fourth-place with 34-time champions, Muharraq and Al Najma – all three teams have 12 points each from eight games.
East Riffa, meanwhile, who were joint-leaders with Khaldiya with 13 points from seven games coming into this match, have the same tally and are now joint-second with the defending champions but have played one match more.
Fourteen-time champions Riffa, who won their last title in 2021-22, currently have 10 points and are in fifth place but they have played only five games so far and, if they defeat Khaldiya tonight, will draw level with the defending champions and East Riffa with a two-games-in-hand advantage.
Manama, with eight points from eight games are in sixth position while Al Shabab, who have seven points from six matches, are currently joint-seventh with Hidd.
Sitra, with six points from six games, and Busaiteen, also with six points but from eight matches, are at the bottom of the table.
Khaldiya vs Riffa - Bahrain National Stadium, 7pm; Al Shabab vs Sitra - Muharraq Stadium, 7pm.