Ambitious Al Wahda will strive to end a long winless run at Al Ain when the Arabian Gulf League’s match-week seven culminates with an intense Abu Dhabi derby.
The buoyant Clarets moved into second spot last weekend thanks to a commanding 3-0 rout of 10-man Ajman. But they travel to a Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Friday where they last tasted top-flight victory nearly seven years ago, plus is now home to resurgent hosts after ending an unconvincing start to the season.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club, meanwhile, face growing pressure to prevail against lowly Ajman after 2019/20 pacesetters descended into 2020/21 also-rans. Their preceding 5-3 defeat to Al Jazira left them down in eighth, increasing the spotlight on Gerard Zaragoza.
Al Bayan has linked former UAE and Al Nasr supremo Ivan Jovanovic with the post. Their current coach, however, was convinced about an immediate fightback.
“We are going into an important match to compensate for the stumbling block of the last round and are ready to face Ajman,” Zaragoza stated.
“I am the most sad and sorry for the first loss in my career with Shabab Al Ahli. The players have the necessary experience to overcome this difficult stage.”
The Pride of Abu Dhabi will also supply the opposition when bottom-placed Hatta welcome debutant boss Vladimir Vermezovic into the dugout.
“I sensed the desire of the players during training to improve the conditions of the team,” the ex-Partizan Belgrade tactician said.
“The players face a mental handicap because of the current situation, but they have the necessary strength to amend it.
“I watched four matches of the team before my arrival and I look forward to presenting a summary of my experience.”
لقد حان موعد الكلاسيكو 🔥🇱🇻
— AlWahda FC نادي الوحدة (@AlWahdaFCC) November 24, 2020
Al Wasl must alleviate their sinking feeling at home to fellow strugglers Fujairah, leaders Sharjah can expect to extend their 100-per-cent record at minnows Khor Fakkan, Bani Yas’ three-match winless spell should be extended by third-placed Al Nasr and recovering Al Dhafra will aim to propel themselves back towards the top spots with victory against Ittihad Kalba.
MATCH-WEEK SEVEN FIXTURES
18:00 Al Wasl v Fujairah
18:00 Al Jazira v Hatta
21:00 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club v Ajman
21:00 Khor Fakkan v Sharjah
18:00 Al Nasr v Bani Yas
18:00 Al Dhafra v Ittihad Kalba
21:00 Al Ain v Al Wahda
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