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Al Ain playing like champions

Pro-League holders and current leaders have two big tests coming up

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Defending champions Al Ain continued their sole leadership of the Etisalat Pro-League as they defeated their nearest rivals Bani Yas 3-0 this week, showing the real signs of champions as they continue to win matches irrespective of the quality of football they play.

Last year’s winners have increased the gap over their nearest rivals to six points, although they still have two big hurdles to overcome before the end of the first half of the competition as they will face their traditional rivals Al Wahda in the UAE clasico and then play against Al Nasr.

Al Wahda, though they are in a mid-table position, have recovered from their poor form and played a strong match against Al Dhafra this week, winning 3-0, and they will be fired up and in good morale against their old foes next week.

The Al Wahda vs Al Ain encounter has always been a thriller irrespective of the two teams’ positions in the league table. And, while they seem a bit far from the top, the players of Al Wahda will surely be content in playing a role in deciding the leaders after the first half of the competition.

Al Nasr squandered two points when they settled for a 1-1 tie at home to Ajman to take fourth place with 22 points. It was their second successive draw after their 2-2 tie with Al Ahli a week ago in the Dubai derby.

Even before the end of the first half, it is clear that the relegation battle will be between Kalba, Dibba and Al Shaab, the three newcomers to the Pro-League this season. They need a lot of hard work and better quality of both local and foreign players to avoid relegation.