Caretaker boss Gerard Zaragoza is fully aware about the “difficulty of the task” facing him in reviving ailing Arabian Gulf League leaders Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club.
Zaragoza, 38, will lead the pacesetters until the end of the season after Rodolfo Arruabarrena was dismissed in the wake of last weekend’s collapse to draw 2-2 with Al Nasr. A trip to 10th-placed Ajman is first up, during a consequential match-week 19 in which second-placed Al Ain travel to third-placed Al Ain.
“I thank the club for the opportunity to lead the first team,” said Zaragoza, whose troops now hold just a three-point lead. “We have achieved good results with the Under-21 team, and I hope to repeat them with the first team.
“I know the difficulty of the task, but it is good to find players at their highest-level of readiness.”
Meanwhile, titles hopes will face a make-or-break test on Saturday when Al Ain meet Jazira.
The Boss’ five wins from their last six top-flight matches has moved them to within touching distance of the faltering leaders. A double from UAE predator Ali Mabkhout at Ittihad Kalba last time out kept Jazira clinging on, seven points off the top.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Al Dhafra and Al Wahda will gain a chance to push their 2021 AFC Champions League qualifying credentials. There are two ‘relegation six pointers’ with ninth-placed Bani Yas welcoming fourth-bottom Kalba and bottom-placed Fujairah hosting fifth-placed champions Sharjah.
Friday will witness on-song Khor Fakkan’s bid to continue their unlikely revival versus Nasr and Wasl travel to second-bottom Hatta, who are fresh from drawing against Sharjah with 10 men.