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Matchweek 23 preview: Arabian Gulf League set for exciting return to action

While the international break has given teams an opportunity to pause for breath and reflection, it has now come to an end as the Arabian Gulf League football returns once again with an exciting list of matchups for matchweek 23, which is scheduled to be held on April 2nd and 3rd.


Hatta will not be able to afford any slip-ups when they take on Al Dhafra at Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium on Friday. While the home side aren’t mathematically down, their top-flight survival scenarios look like an insurmountable hurdle. On the other hand, a win would see Al Dhafra move closer towards midtable safety, as they are currently nine points clear of the relegation zone.


Meanwhile, Shabab Al Ahli will be looking to seal a top 4 finish, while keeping their slim title chances alive, when they welcome Fujairah at Rashid Stadium. The home side are also keen on extending their record 12-game undefeated run in the league. Despite the huge gap on the league table, Shabab Al Ahli will have a tough task ahead as they will clash with struggling Fujairah, who could do with a second consecutive win that could widen the gap with basement dwellers Ajman and Hatta.   


Al Ain and Al Nasr will be gearing up for a thrilling clash at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, considering the slender gap between the two teams on the standings. The Blues reside in 5th place on 39 points, two clear of sixth-placed Al Ain. While Al Nasr will be looking to return to winning ways following their defeat against Fujairah, the Boss will fight for the full points as a win could see them surpass Al Nasr and climb into the top 4.


Al Nahyan Stadium will see Al Wahda host Ittihad Kalba in the last match of the day. Despite their recent strong performances, Al Wahda’s chance of finishing in the top four are hanging by a thread as they sit five points behind fourth-placed Shabab Al Ahli. While the three points could revive the Clarets’ top four chances, they would help Ittihad Kalba cement a comfortable mid-table finish.


The action resumes on Saturday when Al Wasl travel to face Al Jazira at Mohammad bin Zayed Stadium. The three points will be potentially crucial for the Pride of Abu Dhabi in what became a tight title race, especially after their stumble against Al Wahda, which saw them drop to second place. They will, however, face a tough task against in-form Al Wasl who have most recently played out a 3-3 draw with Sharjah and have been undefeated for 12 straight games.


Khorfakkan will be looking to improve their midtable position when they host Ajman at Saqr bin Mohammad al Qassimi Stadium. On the other hand, the Oranges need the three points to revive their survival hopes as they are three points behind 12th-placed Fujairah.


Sharjah and Bani Yas conclude the matchweek 23 action when they face off at 20:15. The Sky Blues will be looking to tighten their grip on the top spot and edge a step closer to what could be a historic league title triumph. Meanwhile, titleholders Sharjah seek to end their disappointing run which saw them drop to third place on 41 points, seven behind leaders Bani Yas.

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