A highly anticipated Arabian Gulf League summit awaits you on Friday when Sharjah receives Al Jazira.
The pair come into this consistent game with 37 points, nine games. Only the 1-0 win in November for the 2018/19 champions, decided by Igor Coronado’s penalty in the first half, separates them.
However, both come into play under a cloud. Jazira failed at the top for the first time this season last week when an early 2-0 lead in the Abu Dhabi derby against Bani Yas resulted in an epic 3-3 draw as Sharjah’s 3-0 semi-finals pounded in the Presidential Cup Al Nasr on Monday made it four games without a win.
“We’re not going to change our training methods or our playing style,” said Marcel Keizer, head of Pride of Abu Dhabi. “We know how important and special this game is because the winner will be the sole leader of the table.
“We expect a complicated and tough game against a strong team, but we will continue to prepare with the same discipline, intensity and concentration.
“We will meet them with our special style of play. The players are comfortable with the system and we have had some great results thanks to it. So there is absolutely no reason to make changes now. “
The exhausted Al Ain, meanwhile, will live without Shoya Nakajima after the Japanese playmaker added to his injury concerns.
The famous loan magic of the 26-year-old from Porto is expected to be over after him suffered a serious ankle injury during training. This will ensure that he only played twice for the improving boss before heading out to an Al Dhafra in 10 minutes on Thursdayth.
“Of course we are going through difficult times now,” said Al Ain technician Pedro Emanuel from Nakajima. “We’re going to lose an important player to his injury during the last training session, which is difficult for us, especially after seeing what he can do for the team.
“I know this is not an easy matter for the player and we should find solutions within the team as it is difficult to find a replacement for the Japanese player with the same skills.”
Nassif Al Baydawi’s reign The Fujairah, threatened with relegation, continues with a competitive game against the ninth Ittihad Kalba. A midfield game is on when Al Wasl hosts Al Wahda and the bottom Hatta face a difficult task with the lively Nasr.
Presidential Cup finalist Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club will seek to extend its unbeaten run of 13 games in all competitions against 11thThe placed Khor Fakkan and Bani Yas will finish in the top two with the win against the sinking Ajman.
MATCH WEEK 18 FASTENERS
17:30 Fujairah versus Ittihad Kalba
17:30 Al Dhafra versus Al Ain
20:15 Al Wasl versus Al Wahda
17:30 Al Nasr versus Hatta
17:30 Bani Yas versus Ajman
20:15 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club versus Khor Fakkan
20:15 Sharjah versus Al Jazira
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