Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Abu Dhabi Derby between Al Wahda and Arabian Gulf League leaders Al Jazira has been given added edge by Henk ten Cate’s midweek return.
Ten Cate, 66, signed up on Tuesday for a second stint in three years at the misfiring eighth-placed Clarets. He’d previously earned legendary status across the capital when landing the 2016/17 top-flight trophy.
The Dutchman’s commanding former employers boast a two-point lead at the summit with five fixtures to fulfil and are undefeated in eight matches.
Second-placed Bani Yas lead the challenge to the Pride of Abu Dhabi. They host a bottom-placed Hatta on Saturday who are scrapping for every point they can get, ahead of the impending international break.
2018/19 champions Sharjah’s slender hopes of title joy will be, virtually, over if they do not prevail against a seventh-placed Al Wasl who are unbeaten in 11 run-outs. The third-placed King were five-points ahead after match-week 14, but now find themselves seven points in arrears after one win in seven games.
UAE centre forward Sebastian Tagliabue’s three goals in three matches should bolster fourth-placed Al Nasr’s hopes against relegation-threatened Fujairah, while 12th-placed Ajman will dream of creating greater daylight to the drop zone versus inconsistent Al Ain.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club at Al Dhafra can go 19 matches unbeaten and mid-table matters define Ittihad Kalba versus Khor Fakkan.
MATCH-WEEK 22 FIXTURES
17:45 Ittihad Kalba v Khor Fakkan
17:45 Al Dhafra v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club
20:15 Bani Yas v Hatta
20:15 Al Wasl v Sharjah
17:45 Ajman v Al Ain
17:45 Fujairah v Al Nasr
20:15 Al Wahda v Al Jazira