Dubai: Defending champions Sharjah have promised to be at their best while taking on challengers Al Jazira in the latest round of fixtures in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) this weekend.
Sharjah are currently the only team with an impeccable, unbeaten record with 12 points after four matches. Last weekend, Sharjah showed their depth with Welliton Soares going to the top of the individual scorers’ list with a fine hat-trick in their 5-0 thrashing of Al Dhafra. That took the Brazilian’s personal tally to six goals as Sharjah continued proving to be among the best teams this season as well.
Coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari, who has been at the helm since the past two seasons, expected his team to stick to their plan going into the next round. “It’s going to be a tricky encounter for us, not just because we are playing away from Sharjah but also because Al Jazira are a team that have shown a lot of improvement over the past one month,” Al Anbari told media.
“My advice to the players is to stick to our plan of playing simple football that has seen us come through with four wins from as many matches so far. I have the confidence in my players and the aim will be to return home with maximum points,” he added.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, who had to settle for the runners-up position last season, are also on the prowl this year with two wins and a couple of draws for their eight points. This week they travel to Khor Fakkan to play against a side that is languishing at the bottom of the standings with no point as yet.
After two draws and two wins apiece, the Red Knights last week took maximum points following their 3-0 win against Hatta at their Al Awir ground. But they have so far dropped vital points through identical 1-1 draws against Al Ain and Al Wahda.
Currently in second place with 10 points, Al Nasr will also be out to continue with their push to the top as they travel to Hatta. Al Nasr have shown a lot of promise at the start of the season with their 1-1 draw against Al Jazira in their opener being followed by wins against Khor Fakkan and similar 3-0 results against neighbours Al Wasl and Ajman.
However, 13-time record AGL champions Al Ain — whose campaign is yet to take off — will be trying to regain lost ground as they host Al Dhafra. Al Ain’s form has been fluctuating with their 2-0 win at home against Khor Fakkan followed by a 1-1 draw against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, a 1-2 loss against defending champions Sharjah and dropped points against Fujairah last week.
Al Ain v Al Dhafra, 6pm
Ajman v Bani Yas, 6pm
Al Jazira v Sharjah, 9pm
Khor Fakkan v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, 6pm
Hatta v Al Nasr, 6pm
Al Wahda v Al Wasl, 9pm
Kalba v Fujairah, 9pm