Abu Dhabi: Imperious at home and wretched on the continent, Al Jazira truly are the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of Asian football.
And few would bet on the Pride of Abu Dhabi deviating from this character in their third AFC Champions League Group B match on Tuesday when they play Saudi Arabia’s Al Fateh away.
Henk ten Cate, the Jazira boss, has not disguised the fact that winning the Arabian Gulf League for the first time since 2011 is his main priority this season.
And his side are well on course to achieve this aim, as they lead the standings by six points with five rounds remaining.
On the continent, meanwhile, it’s been a completely different story; two weeks ago, they lost 1-0 at home to Group B leaders Esteghlal Khouzestan following a 3-0 capitulation away to Lekhwiya in their opener. The Abu Dhabi side have now not won any of their past 11 ACL games and have failed to score in their last three.
But they will surely fare better at the Prince Abdullah Bin Jalawi Stadium against Fateh, who lie bottom of the 14-team Saudi Professional League.
Yet their opponents, who will be without the suspended midfielder Nouh Al Mousa, at least have one point more than Jazira after their 2-2 draw at Lekhiwya last time out.
They warmed up for Tuesday’s encounter with a 1-0 defeat to Al Hilal last Friday, while Jazira maintained their title charge with a 2-0 win over Al Ain a day earlier.
This will be the maiden meeting between the two sides in the AFC Champions League and the first time Fateh will play a UAE team in the competition.
In the day’s other Group B match, Esteghlal Khouzestan will look to maintain their perfect start to the ACL when they host Lekhwiya at Ghadir Stadium.
Back-to-back 1-0 victories over Fateh and Jazira have seen the Iranian debutants set the early pace in Group B and, in doing so, become the only team in the tournament that has yet to concede a goal ahead of their first meeting with their Qatari opponents.
Nam Tae-hee’s stunning late equaliser secured Lekhwiya a 2-2 draw with Al Fateh on matchday two, as Moroccan hot-shot Youssuf El Arabi took his goals tally to three in two games.
The sides go into the clash on the back of contrasting domestic results after Esteghlal Khouzestan were defeated 1-0 by fellow AFC Champions League side Persepolis last week, while Lekhwiya thumped Al Kharitiyath 3-0 in their most recent Qatar Stars League fixture.
AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP B
(Both times UAE)
Esteghlal Khouzestan vs Lekhwiya, 5.30pm
Al Fateh vs Al Jazira, 7.20pm
Teams P W D L GF GA GD PTS
ESTEGHLAL KHOUZESTAN FC (IRN) 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 6
LEKHWIYA SC (QAT) 2 1 1 0 5 2 3 4
AL FATEH FC (KSA) 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1
AL JAZIRA (UAE) 2 0 0 2 0 4 -4 0