Dubai: The Abu Dhabi derby between Al Wahda and Bani Yas will be a highlight as defending champions Sharjah seek to keep their heads up as they launch into the home run of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) this weekend.
Al Wahda are yet to find their consistency in winning matches while heading into the exact midway stage of the league. The Clarets remain stuck in sixth place with five wins and three losses so far for their 19 points.
Their neighbours from the UAE Capital, on the other hand, have been doing well for themselves in fourth place, but still six points behind leaders and defending champions Sharjah who head the standings with 29 points.
The defending champions are scheduled to host seventh-placed Kalba on Friday - keen to keep up their top spot heading into the midway point of the league.
Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari cautioned his team to be wary of Kalba as they’ve been consistent against some of the better teams in the competition this season. “Kalba has been good and their results so far have shown that they are no pushovers,” Al Anbari told media at the pre-match meeting.
“The idea will be to go into this match against Kalba with the sole thought of winning the three points. For this we must ensure we keep our concentration at all times so that they don’t catch us on the break,” he added.
The Sharjah coach further said that Kalba has evolved over the past three seasons. “We need to respect such a team more than any other team,” Al Anbari said.
“I have made my players aware of the task we have on hand. We are also aware of the difficult this match will pose for us as historically it has been tough against Kalba. It is important for us to end the first leg of competition at the top of the standings and this will be our focus,” he stressed.
In other matches on Friday, cellar-placed Hatta will host Al Ain in the second early game, Fujairah will travel to Ajman and Al Nasr will make the short trip across the creek to meet Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the two late fixtures.
On Saturday, Al Dhafra will play Al Wasl and Khor Fakkan will meet Al Jazira in the two early matches before Al Wahda host Bani Yas in the late night fixture.
(January 15) 5 pm: Hatta vs Al Ain; Sharjah vs Kalba; 8.00 pm: Ajman vs Fujairah; Shabab Al Ahli Dubai vs Al Nasr.
(January 16) 5 pm: Al Dhafra vs Al Wasl; Khor Fakkan vs Al Jazira; 8 pm: Al Wahda vs Bani Yas.