Dubai: Leaders Sharjah have promised not to slow down heading into yet another tough encounter as the defending champions travel to Dubai for their sixth-round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), this weekend.
While the defending league champions take on a strong Al Nasr on Friday night, last year’s runners-up Shabab Al Ahli Dubai will be hosting Al Jazira in Saturday’s late-night clash.
Sharjah have been the standout side so far this season with five wins from as many matches played as they lead the standings with 15 points. Their opponents Al Nasr, who opened with a 1-1 draw against Al Jazira, have shown marked improvement as they stand in second position with 13 points.
Bani Yas started off well with strong wins against Al Wasl, Fujairah and Khor Fakkan before succumbing to Al Jazira and held by Ajman in their next two games to be in third place with 10 points. Al Wahda are also on 10 points in fourth, while runners-up Shabab are in fifth with nine, one clear of record 13-time champions Al Ain and Al Jazira in sixth and seventh spots.
Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari was confident of an away win against one of the strongest sides in the AGL this season. “Al Nasr is strong in all departments, and our main goal is to return with maximum points,” Al Anbari told media at the prematch conference late on Wednesday.
“I believe it will be an enjoyable match for all and our hope is to play to our potential while making all-round improvements so that we can get the three points against a strong team, just like we did against strong teams like Al Ain and Al Jazira,” he added.
The Sharjah coach believes that Al Nasr will be one of the sides mounting a serious challenge for the AGL crown this year. “They are well-equipped technically and they have proved they can win in any situation, be it on home ground or away,” he said. “We need to keep our mental and physical focus in this match as it will be the small details in particular that will ultimately make all the difference between two strong teams.”
In other matches, Al Wasl will be hoping for a positive result at home as the Cheetahs host Al Ain, while Bani Yas take on 10th-placed Kalba and Fujairah and Hatta brace for a fight at the bottom of the table.
In Saturday’s early matches, Al Wahda will host 11th-placed Ajman, while Al Dhafra entertain Khor Fakkan.
Al Wasl v Al Ain. 6pm
Bani Yas v Kalba, 6pm
Fujairah v Hatta, 9pm
Sharjah v Al Nasr, 9pm
Al Wahda v Ajman, 6pm
Al Dhafra v Khor Fakkan, 6pm
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai v Al Jazira, 9pm