Al Ain require a boost from Hungary skipper Balazs Dzsudzsak’s probable debut in Friday’s (18:30 KO) intriguing rearranged Arabian Gulf League clash at former employers Ittihad Kalba.
Dzsudzsak, 33, was the talk of the winter transfer deadline day when 11th-placed Kalba, surprisingly, decided to cut the celebrated ex-PSV Eindhoven, Anzhi Makhachkala, Dynamo Moscow and Al Wahda flyer from their four-player foreign quota. His shock status as a free agent allowed the UAE’s most-decorated club to sweep up 2019/20’s lead chance creator – with 52 from 14 appearances – as a free agent, past the window’s closure, on a short-term deal until the end of June.
This move came too late to be registered for the 2020 AFC Champions League’s group stage, meaning the winger was in the stands for Tuesday’s chastening 4-0 Group D opening defeat to Iran’s Sepahan. A play-off to enter the continent’s grandest club competition had forced the cancellation of last month’s top-flight fixture between these sides, fating Dzsudzsak to, potentially, make his bow at Ittihad Kalba Club Stadium.
Victory for Al Ain will propel them up to second from fifth, five points behind leaders Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club. If Kalba halt a three-match losing streak with their new-look team, that lost 1-0 to Hatta in a ‘relegation six-pointer’ last week, they will open up a four-point deficit to the drop zone.
“Sometimes, reality forces us to work to turn negative things that we face in life into lessons learned to improve our performance and turn them into positive matters,” said Al Ain coach Pedro Emanuel. “I am confident that my team’s performance in front of Kalba will definitely be better.”
The sides played out an entertaining clash in August, where two goals from towering ex-Germany Under-21 striker Peniel Mlapa could not prevent a 3-2 loss at Al Ain.
Throughout the season, organisers of the UAE Pro League are giving back to the fans – and this match is no different. There will be a raffle at the end of the first half of each contest, with smartphones, tablets and smart watches being gifted to the winners after the final whistle.
Meanwhile, lucky supporters at select games will get their hands on one of the 30 brand-new Audi A3 cars that will have been raffled out to loyal AGL supporters throughout this season.
In order to be eligible for future raffles, fans must register and purchase tickets through the official ticketing platform at PlatinumList.net.
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