Dubai: The Arabian Gulf League (AGL) can expect a few fascinating face-offs this week with champions Al Jazira’s clash against runners-up Al Wasl expected to be the highlight.
With three wins and a draw for their 10 points, Al Wasl will travel to the capital to take on Al Jazira on Friday night. The Pride of Abu Dhabi have been struggling at the lower end of the standings in ninth place with their strike force of Ahmad Khalil and Ali Makhbout struggling to find the back of the net.
With their overseas duo of Fabio De Lima and Caio Canedo scoring all of their side’s nine goals so far, Al Wasl have been the team to watch as The Cheetahs from Zabeel share top spot along with Al Wahda after four rounds of AGL action.
While De Lima in particular has been a treat to watch, coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena will have to find a way to plug his defence as they have let in five goals in four matches played so far.
The week’s fixtures will open with Dibba hosting Al Dhafra, who have been doing quite well with a win and two draws for their seventh place with five points so far. Down by a couple of goals in the opening ten minutes against defending champions Al Jazira last week, Al Dhafra did well to rescue a point at home with Ailton Almeida and Sultan Abdul Aziz Al Suwaidi finding a goal each.
After securing a shock 1-0 win against the reigning champions, Dibba did well to pick up full points against debutants Ajman the following week. They did well to frustrate Al Nasr last week, till the home side broke loose and scored thrice late in the second half to walk away with full points.
Later on Thursday, Al Wahda will host Hatta and a win will keep the club from Abu Dhabi at the top ahead of Al Wasl on goal difference. Al Wahda have shown good form and were unlucky to go down in Dubai despite dominating against Al Wasl last week.
On Friday, Al Nasr will host new entrants Ajman in the early match with the full knowledge that a win will see them join the group of early pacesetters before the week’s mouth-watering clash between defending champions Al Jazira and Al Wasl in Abu Dhabi.
In action on Saturday, Ivan Hasek’s Emirates will have to do something quickly to recover from their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in Round Four. The club from Ras Al Khaimah will host former 12-time champions Al Ain, and will need to do everything in their power to stop a result similar to last week.
In the week’s final match, Sharjah’s new stand-in coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari will have the rather tough task of dealing with a resolute side like Shabab Al Ahli Dubai.
Dibba vs Al Dhafra, 5.05pm
Al Wahda vs Hatta, 8pm
Al Nasr vs Ajman, 5pm
Al Jazira vs Al Wasl, 8pm
Emirates vs Al Ain, 5pm
Sharjah vs Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, 8pm