Al Nasr’s Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai hosts the 12th edition of the Arabian Gulf Super Cup on Saturday, with the match pitting 2018/19 Arabian Gulf League champions Sharjah against President’s Cup winners Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club.
The clash, which sees the winner lift the first silverware of the season, returns to the UAE having been played in Egypt last season.
The game kicks off at 8.30pm with Sharjah taking part in the Super Cup for the first time in their history after winning their first AGL title in 23 years. Coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s men won 17 of their 26 league fixtures last season, drawing eight and were a single match away from an invincible season, but lost to Al Wasl in matchweek 22.
No team has contested the Super Cup more than Shabab Al Ahli. The Dubai side – who also lifted the Arabian Gulf Cup last term – won on four of their five appearances in the competition, lifting the trophy in 2008/09, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2016/17. They were beaten by Al Ain in the 2009/10 edition.
The two teams met 31 times in all competitions in the professional era. Shabab Al Ahli emerged victorious on 16 occasions, while Sharjah won five times and ten games ended in draws. Although Shabab Al Ahli historically hold the upper hand, Sharjah were the more successful of the two over the past couple of seasons, winning three of the teams’ last four encounters.
King defender Abdullah Ghanim believes his side are mentally prepared for Saturday’s Super Cup clash.
“My team-mates and I will be in top form, mentally and physically,” said Ghanim ahead of the Al Maktoum Stadium showdown. “It is a tough match against experienced opponents, so we have to work hard to win it.”
The 24-year-old discussed his team’s fortunes in their maiden Super Cup appearance, adding: “I believe the two teams have an equal chance going into the game, and we will have to show we are superior on the pitch.
“Our fans will be the key in this game. Seeing the stands full is a great motivation for us and that is what we expect at Al Maktoum Stadium so we can celebrate the title together.”
Shabab Al Ahli midfielder Abdullah Al Naqbi, meanwhile, stressed the importance of the encounter.
“Our ambition as players is to win, although it will be a difficult one,” said Al Naqbi.
“It is certainly not an easy game, but we will not disappoint our fans who have always stood behind us and drove us to achieve two titles last season.”
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