A hotly anticipated summit conflict within the Arabian Gulf League awaits on Friday when Sharjah host Al Jazira.
The pair come into this consequential fixture locked on 37 factors, with 9 matches to play. Solely November’s 1-0 victory for the 2018/19 champions, settled by Igor Coronado’s first-half penalty, separates them.
Each, nonetheless, come into the sport beneath a cloud. Jazira failed final week to hit the entrance for the primary time this time period when an early 2-0 lead within the Abu Dhabi derby versus Bani Yas descended into an epic 3-3 draw, whereas leaders Sharjah’s 3-0 President’s Cup semi-final hammering by Al Nasr on Monday made it 4 matches with out a win.
“We is not going to change something in our coaching strategies or model of play”, Delight of Abu Dhabi boss Marcel Keizer stated. “We all know how necessary and particular this match is, as a result of the winner would be the sole chief of the league desk.
“We predict a sophisticated and difficult recreation towards a powerful aspect, however we are going to maintain getting ready with the identical self-discipline, depth and focus.
“We are going to face them with our particular model of play. The gamers are feeling snug with the system, and we achieved some nice outcomes due to it, so there isn’t a motive in any respect to make any adjustments now.”
Depleted Al Ain, in the meantime, will start life with out Shoya Nakajima after the waylaid Japan playmaker added to their harm considerations.
The celebrated 26-year-old’s mortgage spell from Porto is predicted to be over after he suffered a critical ankle harm in coaching. This may guarantee he solely performed twice for the bettering Boss, forward of Thursday’s prolonged journey to an Al Dhafra down in 10th.
“After all, we at the moment are experiencing tough occasions,” stated Al Ain technician Pedro Emanuel of Nakajima. “We are going to lose an necessary participant due to his harm over the past coaching session, which is tough for us, particularly after we noticed what he might do for the group.
“I do know that this matter shouldn’t be straightforward for the participant and we should always discover options inside the group itself as a result of it’s tough to seek out an alternative to the Japanese participant with the identical skills.”
Nassif Al Baydawi’s reign at relegation-threatened Fujairah continues with a must-win match towards ninth-placed Ittihad Kalba, a mid-table assembly is in retailer when Al Wasl host Al Wahda and bottom-placed Hatta face a troublesome process at buoyant Nasr.
President’s Cup finalists Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Membership will purpose to increase their 13-match undefeated run, in all competitions, versus 11th-placed Khor Fakkan and Bani Yas will shut on the highest two with victory towards sinking Ajman.
MATCH-WEEK 18 FIXTURES
17:30 Fujairah v Ittihad Kalba
17:30 Al Dhafra v Al Ain
20:15 Al Wasl v Al Wahda
17:30 Al Nasr v Hatta
17:30 Bani Yas v Ajman
20:15 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Membership v Khor Fakkan
20:15 Sharjah v Al Jazira
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