October 20, 2021

Brilliant Bani Yas face acid test of Arabian Gulf League title aspirations at ailing Sharjah

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Ailing Sharjah’s hopes of winning the 2020/21 Arabian Gulf League are virtually over, but they...

Ailing Sharjah’s hopes of winning the 2020/21 Arabian Gulf League are virtually over, but they could have a huge say in whether surprise leaders Bani Yas collect the title.
Sides in contrasting form meet on Saturday in match-week 23’s standout fixture. The hosts have recorded only one win in eight matches to drop from favourites in early February to third-placed also-rans, while the Sky Blues hit the front for the first time since October with their 1-0 victory against Hatta prior to the international break.
Daniel Isaila’s troops begin a demanding end to a remarkable campaign with a one-point lead over Al Jazira. The Pride of Abu Dhabi, stung by preceding 2-0 defeat to neighbours Al Wahda, face a demanding test against an Al Wasl unbeaten in 12 matches in the top flight.
Henk ten Cate’s second stint at Wahda, meanwhile, kicks off in earnest versus mid-table Ittihad Kalba on Friday and Al Ain – bolstered by wins from goalkeeper Khalid Essa and Togo striker Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba in March’s monthly awards – host an Al Nasr who are gearing up for next weekend’s Arabian Gulf Cup final versus Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club. Mahdi Ali’s fourth-placed men are unbeaten in 19 and face third-bottom relegation battlers Fujairah.
Second-bottom Ajman hold hope they can claw back a three-point gap to safety versus a Khor Fakkan who are almost mathematically assured of safety. Bottom-placed Hatta face a similar task against Al Dhafra.
MATCH-WEEK 23 FIXTURES
Friday
17:45 Hatta v Al Dhafra
17:45 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club v Fujairah
20:15 Al Wahda v Ittihad Kalba
20:15 Al Ain Al Nasr
Saturday
17:45 Al Jazira v Al Wasl
17:45 Khor Fakkan v Ajman
20:15 Sharjah v Bani Yas

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