Dubai: Ivan Leko, the Al Ain coach, has warned visiting Al Nasr that the hosts will go for the jugular when the two lock horns at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday night.
Third in the AGL table, Al Ain play host to a side that are behind them in fourth by a point and Leko has urged his men to capitalise on their home advantage and take full points.
A win tonight and a corresponding defeat for second-placed Shabab Al Ahli, who are at home against Al Wahda, could see Leko’s men moving into second behind defending champions and current league-toppers Sharjah, who played 10th-placed Bani Yas in Tuesday night’s late game.
With a little under three-quarters of the season left to be played, now is the time to pick up points and Leko made sure he drilled that point home.
“The upcoming match with Al Nasr is a very important one for us because they are a top-quality side, who have been performing well under their new head coach Krunoslav Jurcic,” said Leko, whose Croatian compatriot manages Al Nasr.
“The match is going to be absolutely tough. Al Nasr are a very good team. We played against them in the Arabian Gulf Cup and it was an exciting match.”
“We are all back together in the squad after a very long time [with the players having returned from international duty]. Our training sessions have been going according to plan and the most important thing is that we all know and remember how important it is to win the upcoming match with Al Nasr.”
Al Ain defender Mohammad Fayez added: “We are to play against an opponent that has got it’s campaign back on track. We are well aware that the match will not be an easy one but we are fully ready and fit for this match.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, ninth-placed Hatta host Al Jazira, while Fujairah visit Al Wasl.
Al Jazira are ranked fifth at present, but coach Marcel Keizer has urged his men not to take their opponents lightly.
“They are a good team who do well when it comes to keeping the ball and building up from behind.” he said. “They have very good strikers too so we have a challenging game on our hands.”
6pm: Hatta v Al Jazira
6pm Shabab Al Ahli v Al Wahda
8:30pm: Al Ain v Al Nasr
8:30pm: Al Wasl v Fujairah