Sharjah face Bani Yas test in Arabian Gulf League
Bani Yas coach Krunoslav Jurcic (left) and midfielder Fawaz Awana. - Bani Yas Twitter
By James Jose
Published: Thu 11 Apr 2019, 9:41 PM
Last updated: Thu 11 Apr 2019, 11:45 PM
As the Arabian Gulf League heads into the final bend, Sharjah will be looking to carry on in the same vein and consolidate their position at the top of the standings.
Abdulaziz Al Anbari's side have put not a foot wrong over the course of the season, stitching together 14 wins and five draws in 19 fixtures, making it one of the longest unbeaten streaks in the League's history.
But 'The King' face a stiff test in extending that run when they make the road trip to Abu Dhabi to face Bani Yas on Friday.
Bani Yas, who returned to the top flight, have been one of the surprise packages of the season, nine impressive wins putting the 'Sky Blues' fifth on the table.
And even more impressive has been the fact that Krunoslav Jurcic's side have not lost at home. So, penetrating Bani Yas' fortress will be a tough ask, which Al Anbari is aware of.
"We know how difficult this game will be as Bani Yas have not lost at home," Al Anbari told the club's twitter handle.
"We are also without defender Majed Suroor and midfielder Otabek Shukurov. But I'm confident that the substitute players will provide adequate cover in their absence. The players are aware of the importance of the game and the accumulating the remaining points in the League. I hope that we will achieve a positive result," added the former player.
Al Anbari will be buoyed by the comeback of defender Shahin Abdulrahman, who returned to training.
Meanwhile, playmaker Ryan Mendes said the side were ready to take on Bani Yas. "A difficult game awaits us against Bani Yas and we have prepared well. Our goal is to win all the games and we work together as a team," said Mendes.
Al Anbari's opposite number Jurcic commended Sharjah on a special season but said that they will go all out to stop their winning run.
"We congratulate the Sharjah team on their performance on this season, especially coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari, who has made a great effort with the team," said Jurcic.
"We respect Sharjah but we have great confidence that we will win this game. We have players and a team that is very motivated. I am very confident of winning at our stadium, which is very difficult for any opponents who have played here," added the former Dinamo Zagreb coach.
Midfielder Fawaz Awana said inflicting a first defeat to Sharjah was a great incentive for the team.
"We face the unbeaten leaders in the League this season and it is a good incentive for us to inflict their first loss and break the record. As everyone knows, we have not lost this season at home and we hope to continue that," said Awana.
Dibba vs Fujairah, Fujairah Stadium, 5.50 p.m
Bani Yas vs Sharjah, Bani Yas Stadium, 6 p.m
Emirates vs Al Dhafra, Emirates Club Stadium, 8.30 p.m
Al Wasl vs Shabab Al Ahli, Zabeel Stadium, 8.30 p.m
Ittihad Kalba vs Al Jazira, Kalba Union Sports & Cultural Club Stadium, 5.50 p.m
Al Ain vs Ajman, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, 5.55 p.m
Al Wahda vs Al Nasr, Al Nahyan Stadium, 8.30 p.m