Dubai: Former champions Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and Al Ain will be looking at keeping their record intact as they meet in Round Two of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), this weekend.
The second round of AGL matches will see three games being held on Thursday, followed by another four on Friday.
Fujairah face Bani Yas, Hatta play with Al Wasl and defending champions Sharjah will clash with Al Wahda on Thursday, while Al Jazira host Al Dhafra, Khor Fakkan clash with Al Nasr, Ajman face Ittihad Kalba and Shabab Al Ahli host Al Ain.
Al Ain and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai have clashed 22 times in the AGL and none of these games have ever ended in a goalless draw. Winners of the league a record 13 times in the past, Al Ain will be looking at ironing out their frailties following their 2-0 win against Khor Fakkan last week. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, who have won the AGL seven times, will also be looking at a perfect winning record following last week’s 3-0 win against Kalba.
During the 22 encounters between the two teams, a total of 70 goals have been scored so far.
This week’s opener will see Fujairah host Bani Yas at Fujairah Stadium at 6.15 pm. After starting off with a 2-4 loss to Sharjah last week, Fujairah coach Goran Tufegdžić said: “We have addressed our errors in the first game and we need to be 100 per cent focused on this one now.”
Bani Yas, who opened with a rousing 4-1 result against Al Wasl in Dubai, will be determined to continue their form. “Fujairah is strong and well organized, but I am confident of my team’s abilities,” Bani Yas coach Daniel noted.
After six matches between the two, Fujairah have never defeated Bani Yas in the AGL, as three games ended in favour of the Sky Blues and the other three were draws.
Al Wasl and Hatta will be both smarting from their opening round losses. Hatta got hammered 6-0 by Al Wahda after Al Wasl had fallen to Bani Yas. Al Wasl’s Romanian coach Laureniu Reghecampf was immediately sacked and his assistant Salem Rabia has taken over as interim coach. “I have confidence in the players’ abilities to get a win over Hatta,” Rabia hoped.
In the late match on Thursday, defending champions Sharjah will host Al Wahda from 9 pm. Sharjah left it late to scrape a testy 4-2 win over Fujairah in the opening week. They could be headed towards a tougher task against Al Wahda, who collected the biggest win following their 6-0 drubbing of Hatta.
On Friday, Khor Fakkan will host Al Nasr and Al Jazira hosts Al Dhafra in the early matches. Khor Fakkan went down to a superior Al Ain, while Al Nasr had to battle it out to hold Al Jazira 1-1. Even though Al Dhafra got off their campaign to a great start following a 4-1 win over Ajman, Al Jazira will be a totally different opponent against whom they have so far conceded 44 goals in their 20 times the two have met.
October 22: Hatta vs Al Wasl; Fujairah vs Bani Yas; Sharjah vs Al Wahda (9 pm).
October 23: Al Jazira vs Al Dhafra; Khor Fakkan vs Al Nasr; Ajman vs Kalba (9 pm); Shabab Al Ahli Dubai vs Al Ain.
Unless otherwise mentioned, all matches from 6.15 pm.