Arabian Gulf League: Al Ain expect stern challenge from Al Nasr, Al Jazira welcome back UAE stars

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Ivan Leko (Al Ain).

Ivan Leko is expecting to face “one of the strongest teams in the Arabian Gulf League” when resurgent Al Nasr travel to Al Ain on Wednesday.

The Boss returned to winning ways on Friday with a come-from-behind 2-1 Arabian Gulf Cup quarter-final win against top-flight holders Sharjah. Another steep challenge awaits the UAE’s most-decorated club, however, when opponents who’ve won six of their last seven matches in all competitions disembark at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium after the elongated international break.

“This is a very important game, especially as we are facing a strong team who managed in recent times to appear well under the leadership of Krunoslav Jurcic,” said fellow ex-Croatia midfielder Leko.

“Al Nasr are one of the strongest teams in the Arabian Gulf League.”

Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer is in a “positive” mood after his huge UAE contingent flooded back ahead of the trip to Hatta.

A sizeable nine of the Whites’ initial squad for the Gulf Cup came from the Pride of Abu Dhabi ranks.

Keizer said: “Working with a full line-up is positive for all coaches. I am happy that most of the team are available, because of the pause in their international obligations.”

Elsewhere, Madjid Bougherra’s Fujairah will aim to get over their elimination from the AG Cup’s quarters and emerge from the top flight’s relegation zone with victory at Al Wasl. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club can close to one point on leaders Sharjah with victory versus Al Wahda.

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