Dubai: Early pace-setters Bani Yas and defending champions Sharjah will be on the lookout for maximum points heading into the third round of action of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) this weekend.
Three games have been scheduled on Thursday while the remaining four will be played on Friday.
On Thursday, Al Dhafra will host Fujairah while Al Jazira will face Kalba to kick off proceedings with the two early games. The BurDubai derby as Al Nasr make the short trip on Al Ain road to face Al Wasl.
On Friday, Ajman host Hatta and Al Wahda face Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the two early games, while Al Ain will clash with Sharjah and Bani Yas will face Khor Fakkan in the late night matches.
Al Jazira and Ittihad Kalba will kick off the action when they face off at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. With two draws and as many points points so far, the Pride of Abu Dhabi will be eyeing a return to winning ways against the Kalba at 6.15 pm. The former champions have had a disappointing start to the season following two draws – both 1-1 results against Al Nasr and Al Dhafra – as they sit in tenth position.
Kalba, on the other hand, have done well to bounce back following their 3-0 opening week drubbing from Shabab Al Ahli Dubai with full points following their 1-0 win against Ajman. To their comfort, Al Jazira have never lost to Kalba in the AGL as they have an untouched record of nine wins and a draw after ten encounters so far.
UAE national team striker Ali Mabkhout has been at the forefront for Al Jazira as he has scored 10 times in the last 15 goals accounted for by the Pride of Abu Dhabi.
Challenge for Cheetahs
One of the six teams who are yet to be beaten, Al Dhafra will also be looking for maximum points as they host Fujairah at the same time. Al Dhafra have started well with a win and a draw to lie in third place behind the two early pace-setters. Fujairah, on the other hand, have a huge task on hand as they sit in 12th place and no points to their name so far.
The last game on Thursday will see Al Wasl host Al Nasr at 9 pm at the Zabeel Stadium. After a 4-1 defeat to Bani Yas in the opening week, Al Wasl earned a late 4-2 win over Hatta to move to eighth place on three points. They sit one point behind sixth-placed Al Nasr, who drew with Al Jazira in the opening week before defeating Khor Fakkan by a solitary goal in the second week.
Al Wasl will have to really be at their best as the Cheetahs have lost their last three matches against their immediate neighbours in the AGL.
Friday’s highlight will be Sharjah on the road to former 13-time champions Al Ain, while Bani Yas will be up against Khor Fakkan in the two feature matches. Bani Yas and Sharjah are the only two teams so far with maximum points after two matches.
So far, the 14 matches after two rounds have produced 72 goals – that’s at a high average of 3.6 goals per game.
October 29: 6.15 Al Dhafra vs Fujairah; 6.15 Al Jazira vs Kalba; 9.00 Al Wasl vs Al Nasr
October 30: 6.15 Al Wahda vs Shabab Al Ahli Dubai; 6.15 Ajman vs Hatta; 9.00 Al Ain vs Sharjah; 9.00 Bani Yas vs Khor Fakkan