According to boss Marcel Keizer, the youthful Al Jazira cannot be taken for granted at the clash in the stands against Al Ain.
In the latest edition of ‘Al Clasico’, the fifth-placed hosts in the Arabian Gulf League title race desperately cling to Marcel Keiser’s storming visitors, who are tied with front runner Sharjah. Jazira’s fall is further compounded by a six-game winning streak and the fact that it has been five years since they were last knocked down at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
“Our game against Al Ain will be close and equal,” said Pride of Abu Dhabi Supremo Keizer, who heads the competition’s youngest squad. “Both teams have a chance to win, as two teams come together in this game, representing two of the biggest clubs in the league.
“Although Al Ain did not achieve the required results in the previous period, it will have no impact on Thursday’s game.”
Meanwhile, Mahdi Ali faces a difficult task on Friday to secure the first league win of his third stint for the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club at neighboring Al Wasl.
The prestigious ex-UAE boss has taken a point from two games since his successor at Gerard Zaragoza, despite the fact that the Emirates Club of the First Division League was beaten 2-0 in the presidential cup. Their upcoming opponents parted 1-0 against Khor Fakkan last weekend to give their new boss, former Fluminense tactician Odair Hellmann, an opening win on their third attempt.
“We have to carry on with the same spirit and the same performance as in the previous game against Bani Yas [a 0-0 draw], ” Ali said of this clash in midfield, despite Shabab Al Ahli setting the pace in 2019/20. “The players know the importance of winning the game and I trust they will make a good game.”
Sharjah is the name of the winless Ajman in the expected absence of former Benfica striker Caio, Goran Tufegdzic should have a lot of inside knowledge if his Fujairah welcomed the Khor Fakkan team he coached last season and Ittihad Kalba would at least temporarily move up to fourth place with the win against the bottom Hatta. Al Nasr will be looking to solidify his title cards against Al Wahda and Bani Yas could crash the top three if they lose 10th-placed Al Dhafra.
MATCH WEEK 12 FASTENERS
17:00 Sharjah versus Ajman
17:00 Fujairah versus Khor Fakkan
8:00 p.m. Ittihad Kalba versus Hatta
20:00 Al Ain versus Al Jazira
17:00 Al Nasr versus Al Wahda
17:00 Bani Yas versus Al Dhafra
20:00 Al Wasl versus Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club
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