After around a 10-day halt, the Arabian Gulf League action resumes once again, as matchweek 9 is scheduled to kick off on Thursday, with a number of exciting clashes being lined up for the next two days.
Three matches will be held on Thursday, as Al Nasr face Fujairah, Al Ain host Ajman and Sharjah clash with Al Wasl. On Friday, Shabab Al Ahli welcome Al Dhafra, Hatta face Bani Yas, Al Jazira host Al Wahda and Khorfakkan play against Ittihad Kalba.
Al Nasr and Fujairah will kick off the action when they face off at Al Maktoum Stadium at 6pm. The Blues are tied on 17 points with second-placed Al Jazira on goal difference, and their recent results have been marked with inconsistency after losing to Sharjah, beating Bani Yas and drawing with Ittihad Kalba in their past three games. On the other hand, Fujairah claimed their first win of the season over Hatta before losing to Al Wasl and Al Jazira with the same 3-0 scoreline to occupy 12th place on four points.
Serbian coach Goran Tufegdzic stressed on the difficulty of Al Nasr clash, saying the Blues are among the favorites for this season’s title. “Despite our not so good position on the standings, we have been putting strong performances,” he said.
“We could get wins if the players avoided some mistakes. We play fast offensive football, yet we scored six goals only,” he explained.
Al Nasr coach Krunoslav Jurčić echoed Goran’s words as he expects a tough game. “We have a strong game against Fujairah, because we will face an organized team who have good defensive system and relies on counterattacks,” he added.
At the same time, Al Ain will be facing Ajman at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in a repeat of their most recent clash in the UAE President’s Cup which saw Ajman eliminate Al Ain with a 1-0 win. Ajman are the only team, besides Hatta, who are you to get a win this season, as their disappointing results left them in 13th place on two points. Meanwhile, the Boss need to avenge their defeat against Ajman and recover from their recent 4-1 league defeat to Bani Yas, which left them in fourth place on 14 points, three behind Al Nasr and Al Jazira and six below leaders Sharjah.
Al Ain coach Pedro Emanuel said that collecting the biggest number of points is what matters right now. “We will do our best during the game and we will fight for the three points, because this is the only way to get ourselves back on track,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ajman manager Ayman Al Ramady said that Al Ain match is always an important clash. “It requires us to double our efforts, especially when putting Ajman’s current position into consideration and our dire need for positive results,” he added.
After settling to two consecutive draws, leaders Sharjah will be looking to return to winning ways when they welcome Al Wasl at home at 9pm. Despite dropping four points in their past two games, the King remain at top of the standings on 20 points. They clash with Al Wasl whose half of their total number of points came in the past two games against Fujairah and Ajman, as they collected two consecutive wins to move to ninth place on 12 points.
For his part, Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anberi said that his team is looking forward to return to winning ways. “We are not pressured after dropping four points. We have players who can deal with such situations,” he added.
He explained, “our games against Al Wasl are always exciting, especially after their recent positive results.”
Meanwhile, Al Wasl coach Salem Rabee said he respects Sharjah who remain undefeated after eight games. He added, “Al Wasl definitely have what it takes to put in a good game.”
“I call on the players to do their best and prove their abilities on Thursday,” he added.