AGL leaders Ahli to take on Bani Yas

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AGL leaders Ahli to take on Bani Yas

19th round of the Arabian Gulf League resumes over the weekend

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Thu 20 Feb 2014, 11:23 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:10 PM

Al Ahli players celebrate scoring a goal. — KT file

Al Ahli’s home clash against Bani Yas at Rashid Stadium will be the highlight of the 19th round of the Arabian Gulf League here on Thursday night. The match is set to kickoff at 8.15pm.

Al Ahli are showing the way with 42 points from 18 starts, including 13 wins, three draws and two defeats as Bani Yas are ninth with 24 points after winning six starts, beaten in six and drew six. Al Ahli beat Bani Yas 3-2 in the first round of the competition at the Al Shamkha Stadium in Bani Yas City. However, Bani Yas’ newly recruited Iraqi coach Adnan Hamad is looking forward to change the club’s fortunes, but hopefully he won’t wait too long for his turn to come.

In another equally important clash on Thursday, runners-up Al Shabab face an uphill task against improving Ajman at the Rashid bin Saeed Stadium in Ajman early in the evening. Hosts Ajman have won their last two starts, including a stunning 1-0 victory over hosts Al Wasl at Zabeel Stadium, while Al Shabab are not less motivated than their opponents, following a convincing 3-1 home victory over Emirates. But, Ajman’s challenge could be a little bit tougher.

Bottom of the table, Dubai, who are facing a real threat of being relegated to the lower division, entertain third-placed Al Jazira. Having been beaten in 13 outings, Dubai have collected nine points from two wins and three draws which is by no means an encouraging performance. Al Jazira’s title dreams though remote, but they are still there after dropping to third to settle nine points off the pace. And for this reason, the match is crucial for the two sides from varying perspectives.

On Friday, Al Wasl will make the long trip to Al Dhafra’s Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Stadium where they will hope to stop the rot after a string of defeats. The Cheetahs were 2-1 winners in the reverse fixture earlier this season and will look to their abundance of new January signings to make it a double.

Al Shaab will host Emirates at the Khaled bin Mohammed Stadium, kicking off at 5:40pm, as the home side desperately scrap for points to avoid relegation. Emirates thumped out a 5-2 win over Al Shaab in Round 6 this season and another win would see them pull even further away from the dreaded drop zone.

Concluding the round, Al Wahda will be paid a visit by the League’s most defensively watertight team Sharjah. A win for Al Wahda would not be enough to leapfrog their opponents who have a 5-point advantage.

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