Dubai: Al Wahda will take on Al Wasl, while former champions Al Ain will face Khor Fakkan in their opening rounds of the 2020 Arabian Gulf Cup later this summer.
The draw for the annual season-opening competition was held late on Saturday at the Ministry of Health and Prevention in Dubai in the presence of several officials from the UAE Football Association (UAE FA) and Ministry of Health.
Former champions Shabab Al Ahli will host Al Dhafra, while Fujairah will travel to Ajman, Bani Yas will welcome Hatta and Al Jazira will be at home against Ittihad Kalba in the remaining opening round matches of the competition. As per the tentative schedule laid down by the UAE Pro League, the season is scheduled to start off with the Arabian Gulf Cup matches on September 3.
Normally, the season takes off with the one-off Arabian Gulf Super Cup. But this year, the start of the season has been re-worked with the Arabian Gulf Cup matches kicking off first, while the Super Cup featuring league champions Sharjah and UAE President’s Cup winners Shabab Al Ahli Dubai will be held at a later date.
As per competition regulations, defending Arabian Gulf League (AGL) champions Sharjah have received a bye into the quarter-finals, where they will host the winner of the opening match between Al Wahda and Al Wasl.
Also in the quarter-finals, reigning Arabian Gulf Cup champions Al Nasr will take on the winner of the match between Ajman and Fujairah, while the remaining two quarter-finals will see the winner of the Al Ain versus Khor Fakkan match take on the winner between Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and Al Dhafra, while Bani Yas or Hatta Club will face Al Jazira or Ittihad Kalba.
The draw was held under the slogan ‘Thank you, our first line of defence’ as a tribute to all those health care professionals working during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Prominent among those who attended the draw ceremony were UAE Pro League Vice-Chairman Jamal Hamad Al Marri, Board Member and Technical Committee President Hassan Taleb Al Marri, Board Member Mohammad Obaid Al Yammahi and Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and director of Dubai Medical District Nasser Khalifa Al Budoor, while representatives of all professional clubs were present via teleconferencing.
The opening round of the AGL will kick off on September 9 and will witness Al Wahda host Hatta, Al Nasr welcome Al Jazira, while Bani Yas will be at Al Wasl. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai will get their campaign under way at Ittihad Kalba, while former 13-time champions Al Ain will host Khor Fakkan, Ajman will undertake the long journey to Al Dhafra, while defending champions Sharjah will face Fujairah at home.
The second round of the AGL will have at least two engrossing encounters with Shabab Al Ahli Dubai hosting Al Ain, while Al Wahda will travel to take on Sharjah. In the remaining five fixtures of Round 2, Khor Fakkan will be up against Al Nasr, Al Jazira will take on Al Dhafra, Ajman will make the short trip against Ittihad Kalba, Hatta Club will face Al Wasl and Fujairah will take on Bani Yas.