Arabian Gulf League: Shabab Al Ahli can streak ahead if they beat Al Ain in massive 'Match of the Week'

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(Al Ain).

New Arabian Gulf League-leaders Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club can deliver a potential knockout blow to managerless Al Ain in Thursday’s consequential ‘Match of the Week’.

A 5-0 thrashing of Ittihad Kalba by Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s troops, allied with injury ravaged holders Sharjah’s 3-1 loss at Al Dhafra, forced a change at the top last week. Now comes a defining test at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium against hosts who have triumphed in both games under caretaker Ghazi Fahad since ex-Croatia midfielder Ivan Leko’s departure on December 22 and are holding on in the title race, five points off the pace.

“The players are determined to appear well in the match in order to complete the series of victories after the last two wins over Dibba Al Hisn in the President’s Cup and the Al Wahda in the Arabian Gulf League,” said former Iraq international Fahad.

“All indications are promising that the team will be in their best condition in the Shabab Al Ahli meeting.”

In addition to the excitement on pitch, the UAE Pro League Arena FanZone at the Hazza will offer fun and competitive challenges. You can also indulge in delicious snacks from one of the premium food truck partners located at the stadium.

A lucky supporter will also get their hands on one of the 30 brand-new Audi A3 cars that will have been raffled out before the end of this season.

In order to be eligible for future raffles, fans must register and purchase tickets through the official ticketing platform at PlatinumList.net, plus attend a minimum of three home games of your favourite club.

There will be a raffle at the end of the first half of each game, with smartphones, tablets and smart watches being gifted to the winners after the final whistle.

Meanwhile, shaken Sharjah have refused to press the panic button ahead of Wednesday’s visit of inconsistent Wahda.

Injuries to skipper Shahin Abdulrahman and Foreign Player of the Year Igor Coronado have coincided with a damaging run of one win from their last four AGL contests.

“We are looking forward to a good match with our brothers at Al Wahda,” said tactician Abdulaziz Al Anbari.

“We encountered difficult circumstances, with injuries to a large number of players.

“The most important thing for us and the club management is that the team continues to compete as before.”

Third-placed Al Jazira expect 2016 AFC Player of the Year Omar Abdulrahman to be in their ranks for Wednesday’s visit of resurgent Al Nasr despite his recent wedding.

Abdulrahman, 28, travelled to Saudi Arabia in the build-up for his nuptials. But the Pride of Abu Dhabi will require all their offensive weapons to hold off fifth-placed visitors to Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Elsewhere on match-week 12’s first day, winless Khor Fakkan must hurt fourth-bottom Ittihad Kalba to transform meagre hopes of not being instantly demoted back to First Division League.

Thursday’s action begins with on-song Al Dhafra looking to secure a fourth triumph in their last five top-flight run-outs when they travel to promoted Hatta. Al Wasl and Bani Yas need three points to crawl away from the drop zone, while Madjid Bougherra’s Fujairah must begin converting positive displays into victories when they host Ajman.

MATCH-WEEK 12

Wednesday

18:15: Ittihad Kalba v Khor Fakkan

18:15 Al Jazira v Al Nasr

20:45: Sharjah v Al Wahda

Thursday

18:15: Hatta v Al Dhafra

18:15: Al Wasl v Bani Yas

20:45: Al Ain v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club

20:45: Fujairah v Ajman

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