According to trainer Mahdi Ali, the duel between Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and Sharjah in the heavyweight division of the Arabian Gulf League is associated with regret.
The ex-UAE boss is currently overseeing an unbeaten streak of 17 games – including the Arabian Gulf Cup and the President’s Cup semi-finals. That superb performance put them in fifth place overall, but a bleak start to 2020/21 under predecessor Gerard Zaragoza means they are 10 points behind leaders Al Jazira in Thursday’s 1-1 draw in Ajman.
Monday’s duel with 2018/19 champions Sharjah, who is four points behind in third place after four wins against Khor Fakkan, provides another opportunity for an encouraging result, although Ali fears that even a win won’t propel them will be in the title fight.
He said: “In general, I’m happy with the last period and the performance of the players. Especially with the difficulties we faced at the beginning of my time on the team.
“After that we started to reach a good level and get positive results. Without the team’s bad start, we could have improved our assets in the league. “
Jazira faced relegation zone opponents for the second year in a row when Fujairah visits the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium. Al Wasl can make it unbeaten in eleven top games when battling Ajman in third place and Hatta in last place has a great chance to prevail against a Khor Fakkan who has lost five of his last six games.
Managerless Al Wahda travels to Al Dhafra for their first game on Tuesday since a 4-0 win against Al Ain was a final for tactician Vuk Rasovic, Fourth-placed Al Nasr needs a strong result against midfielder Ittihad Kalba, and runner-up Bani Yas has to face a qualification test with 13-time record champions Al Ain.
MATCH WEEK 21 FASTENERS
17:45 Al Wasl versus Ajman
17:45 Al Jazira versus Fujairah
20:15 Khor Fakkan versus Hatta
20:15 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club versus Sharjah
17:45 Al Dhafra versus Al Wahda
17:45 Al Nasr versus Ittihad Kalba
20:15 Al Ain versus Bani Yas
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