Abu Dhabi: Third-placed Al Jazira will be looking to consolidate their position when they take on Bani Yas in round 16 of the Arabian Gulf League at Bani Yas Stadium on Thursday.
Al Jazira registered an authoritative 5-0 win over Fujairah in their last outing and coach Damien Hertog wants his boys to keep the foot on the gas going into the clash against Bani Yas.
“Bani Yas are a very good team,” he said. “They have improved a lot this season and have done really well so far. They are well organised.
“It will be a tough match against a tough opponent who have not lost at home this season. They started the second half of the season really well with two wins and we really have to be on the top of our game to get a result, and for us that is three points.”
Al Jazira have won four consecutive games and are trailing second-placed Al Ain by one point — six behind league leaders Sharjah, who are on 37 points.
The return of star striker Ali Mabkhout, midfielder Sebastian Siani and Salem Al Eidi, who missed the Fujairah victory through suspension, will add further fire power.
“It’s good we have nearly everybody back,” said Hertog. “This means there will be more competition for places which is good for the whole squad.”
It will also be interesting to see how Al Ain go about their business under new coach Juan Carlos Garrido when they take on Al Nasr at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.
With Sharjah having taken a considerable lead in the table, Al Ain cannot afford any more slip-ups like the one they had against Al Dhafra in the last round. The 3-0 loss, their third of the season, was a telling blow at the hands of Al Dhafra and “the Boss” will be keen to make amends.
Sharjah also have a tight contest against fourth-placed Shabab Al Ahli on Saturday and sixth-placed Al Wahda take on 11th-placed Al Wasl away at the Zabeel Stadium on Thursday.
Bani Yas v Al Jazira, 5.35pm
Al Wasl v Al Wahda, 8.15pm
Dibba v Emirates, 5.30pm
Kalba v Al Dhafra, 5.30pm
Sharjah v Shabab Al Ahli, 8.15pm
Ajman v Fujairah, 5.30pm
Al Ain v Al Nasr, 8.15pm