Dubai club Al Nasr sack Italian coach Cesare Prandelli

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Prandelli has left the Dubai side.

Dubai club Al Nasr on Friday sacked Italian coach Cesare Prandelli amid a disappointing season, reinstating Serb Ivan Jovanovic who was previously in charge from 2013 to 2016.

“Al Nasr football company has decided to relieve Italian Cesare Prandelli from the post of technical director,” read a tweet from the club in the wake of a defeat in the President’s Cup on Wednesday.

Jovanovic, who helped the team become UAE league champions in 2015, is to succeed Prandelli, a second tweet said, accompanied by a photo of the Serbian coach.

Prandelli coached Italy to the final of Euro 2012 but left after their group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup. He then had spells at Galatasaray and Valencia before moving to Al Nasr last year.

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Key stats as Arabian Gulf League leaders Al Wasl host Al Ain in clash of unbeaten top two at Zabeel Stadium

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Arabian Gulf League pacesetters Al Wasl host Al Ain on Friday in the Arabian Gulf League in what is a top of the table clash (7.45pm kick-off).

Something has got to give this weekend as both teams enter the match at Zabeel Stadium unbeaten in the league after the first 11 round of fixtures.

Indeed, only goal difference separates Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s Al Wasl side with Al Ain, with Friday’s hosts having netted just twice more this term and conceded one fewer goal.

It is all set-up to be a thriller in Dubai with Wasl striker Fabio Lima very much the man to watch given the Brazilian leads the league’s goalscoring charts this term with 12 strikes to his name.

Visitors Al Ain, who are managed by Zoran Mamic and of course can count UAE star Omar Abdulrahman among their playing XI, will need to put in a stellar showing if they are to take anything away from the fixture.

The league table below shows just how tight things are this season while our graphic illustrates how 24-year-old Lima has been arguably the man of the campaign so far.

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Arabian Gulf League ticketing revolution sees system move online

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Just a click away: You can now book your ticket online for top Arabian Gulf League games (PLC).

A revolutionary online system is set to replace paper tickets in the Arabian Gulf League, beginning with this round on Thursday and Friday.

Organisers, the Pro League Committee, approved the change as part of the strategic plan which prioritises the use of technology and smart apps through strategic initiatives. Fans can purchase ticketing with ease through the website: www.platinumlist.net/arabian-gulf-league.

Prices range from Dh10-500, depending on category and class of fixture. Cheapest entry for Thursday’s meeting between Hatta and Shabab Al Ahli at Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium is Dh10 , while Friday’s top-of-the-table thriller between Al Wasl and Al Ain at Zabeel Stadium begins at Dh20.

This comes in an effort from the PLC to boost the sporting creativity culture, develop smart operations and increase adoption of modern technologies in the management and organisation of PLC competitions to deliver technological progress that matches the progress achieved on the pitch, evident in topping AFC domestic competitions ranking for four-consecutive times in one year.

Sport360° verdict

Anything designed to boost the often-paltry attendances in the Arabian Gulf League has to be welcomed.

This initiative adds an air of modernity to a practice which before often felt so haphazard.

For the big fixtures, such as Friday’s huge match between Al Wasl and Al Ain, the original process was a free-for-all.

An opaque and intimidating approach made it too easy to shy away for both non-Arabic speakers and the uninitiated interested in testing out the competition. Why bother when answers for simple questions remained infuriatingly hard to find; Where can you buy them? How much do they cost? Where do you pick them up?

Now, with a few easy clicks anyone can gain access – from casual expats to the fully committed.

Such moves have been longed for. Attendance boosting is a major aim for the league, but drives have been rare.

In 2009, Al Ahli – who transformed into Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club last May – became the first club in the Middle East to sell tickets online. Few of their peers followed.

So many everyday transactions have now moved to the web, from ordering a taxi through Uber or Careem to tickets at Dubai Opera. The AGL catching up has to be applauded.

Let’s hope it is the start of a new, inclusive era.

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