Chance for Al Nasr to usurp top spot from Sharjah
The top two in the Arabian Gulf League clash at the Sharjah Stadium on Friday night
The sixth round of the Arabian Gulf League, which will be played out over the weekend, sees three top fixtures across two emirates with the piece de resistance undoubtedly being the top of the table clash between Sharjah and Al Nasr.
Al Nasr have the opportunity to usurp the top spot from Sharjah when they make the short trip from Dubai late Friday evening.
Sharjah have been the early pace setters and lead the standings with 15 points followed by Al Nasr who are two behind.
But ‘The Blues’ run into ‘The King’ who are on a hot streak, so to speak, unbeaten in all five games played so far. And it will take a whole lot more for Krunoslav Jurcic’s men to get past Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s side.
“Friday’s confrontation brings us together with one of the contenders who are competing for the title,” Al Anbari said in his pre-match press briefing.
“They are a very strong team with some top players and a good coach. We look forward to presenting a great match and we hope to succeed in reaping full points and maintaining our lead at the top,” the Emirati coach added.
Al Anbari is looking for consistency and stability when it comes to squad selection but also said that it was important to have a strong bench strength to not just keep the first team players on their toes but also give them strong options.
Al Anbari’s opposite number Jurcic, meanwhile, called it a derby and said his team were ready to go up against the League’s leaders.
“Sharjah are one of the strongest teams in the League and we respect them like all the teams we play against,” said Jurcic.
“But we are ready to face them. The atmosphere in the team is very positive and we have the ability to compete against any opponents,” added the former assistant coach of Croatia.
Jurcic, who also managed record 21-time Croatian First League champions Dinamo Zagreb thrice, also revealed that Sebastian Tagliabue, Habib Fardan, Mohamed Fawzi and Mahmoud Khamis linked up with the squad following their international commitments with the UAE National team.
Meanwhile, Cape Verde winger Ryan Mendes, who formerly played for Sharjah, arrived in Dubai on Wednesday evening. The 30-year-old signed a two-year deal with The Blues in the summer.
The weekend gets going with Al Wasl hosting record 13-time AGL champions Al Ain at the Zabeel Stadium, while third-placed Bani Yas host Ittihad Kalba at their fortress in Al Shamkha. Shabab Al Ahli take on Al Jazira to wrap up the week on Saturday night.
Al Wasl vs Al Ain, Zabeel Stadium, 6 p.m
Bani Yas vs Ittihad Kalba, Bani Yas Stadium, 6 p.m
Fujairah vs Hatta, Fujairah Stadium, 9 p.m
Sharjah vs Al Nasr, Sharjah Stadium, 9 p.m
Al Wahda vs Ajman, Al Nahyan Stadium, 6 p.m
Al Dhafra vs Khor Fakkan, Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium, 6 p.m
Shabab Al Ahli vs Al Jazira, Rashid Stadium, 9 p.m
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