Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club’s heavyweight Arabian Gulf League clash with Sharjah is tinged with regret, according to coach Mahdi Ali.
The ex-UAE boss is currently overseeing a 17-match unbeaten streak – including Arabian Gulf Cup and President’s Cup semi-finals. This excellent spell has moved them up to fifth in the standings, but a dreary start to 2020/21 under predecessor Gerard Zaragoza means Thursday’s 1-1 draw at Ajman leaves them 10 points off leaders Al Jazira.
Monday’s clash with 2018/19 champions Sharjah – who trail four-points behind in third after a four-match winless period was snapped versus Khor Fakkan – offers another opportunity for an encouraging result, though Ali fears even a win won’t make propel them into the title fight.
He said: “In general, I am satisfied with the last period and the performance of the players. Especially with the difficulties that we faced at the beginning of my time with the team.
“But after that we began to provide a good level and achieve positive results. We could have enhanced our fortunes in the league, had it not been for the poor start of the team.”
Jazira face opposition from the relegation zone for a second-successive week when Fujairah visit Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Al Wasl can make it 11 top-flight games unbeaten when they battle third-bottom Ajman and bottom-placed Hatta have a glorious chance to prevail versus a Khor Fakkan who’ve lost five of their last six matches.
Managerless Al Wahda travel to Al Dhafra on Tuesday for their first fixture since a 4-0 humbling by Al Ain proved terminal for tactician Vuk Rasovic, fourth-placed Al Nasr need a strong result versus mid-table Ittihad Kalba and second-placed Bani Yas face a test of their credentials at record 13-time-champions Al Ain.
MATCH-WEEK 21 FIXTURES
17:45 Al Wasl v Ajman
17:45 Al Jazira v Fujairah
20:15 Khor Fakkan v Hatta
20:15 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club v Sharjah
17:45 Al Dhafra v Al Wahda
17:45 Al Nasr v Ittihad Kalba
20:15 Al Ain v Bani Yas