Matchweek 4 of the Arabian Gulf League, which will be played out midweek, offers some enticing match-ups, headlined by Match of the Week which sees Bani Yas host Al Jazira.
The games, taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, are dubbed "Flag Day Round" in observance of the UAE Flag Day, celebrated on November 3 every year.
Four games are scheduled to be held on the opening day of matchweek 4, as Fujairah face Al Ain, Sharjah clash with Al Dhafra, Al Nasr host Ajman and Bani Yas face Al Jazira.
Fujairah kicks things off at 6pm with a home match against Al Ain. Fujairah had a disappointing start to the 2020-21 season as they are still looking to collect their first point after falling to three consecutive defeats and dropping to 13th place.
On the other hand, the Boss enter the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at home against Sharjah that left them eighth on four points.
Goals are expected on Tuesday as a total of 19 goals were scored in their past six clashes in the league with none of them ending in a goalless draw.
Al Ain coach Pedro Emanuel said that his side’s clash with Fujairah will not be easy and that the Boss will fight for the three points. “They have talented forwards who deal well with counterattacks. They are an organized team and we will have to be ready,” he explained.
His Fujairah counterpart Goran Tufegdzic said his team will do their best to get a win. “I have confidence in my players despite losing the past three matches,” he added.
Sharjah will be hosting Al Dhafra at the same time in an exciting game, as both sides had good starts to the season that left them in second and third places, respectively.
The King collected the full points from their first three games to sit second after leaders Bani Yas on goal difference. They are two points above Al Dhafra who earned two wins and a draw so far.
This marks the first season where Al Dhafra remain unbeaten in their first three league games. On the other hand, Sharjah fell to one defeat only in their past 30 league games (21 win – 8 draws).
Al Dhafra coach Aleksandar Veselinović said he respects their opponents Sharjah who are considered a strong team. “It will be a tough test, but we will do our best to beat them,” he explained.
Sharjah coach Abdelaziz Al Anbari said his side prepared well for the game despite the time limitations and described Al Dhafra as a tough team who put in good performances in the past three years.
With a kick-off set for 9pm, Al Nasr will play against Ajman at Al Maktoum Stadium.
After their 3-0 win over Al Wasl last week, the Blues raised their tally to seven points in fourth place. They will be facing the Oranges, who sit 11th and have one point only after their 0-0 draw with Hatta in matchweek 3.
Ajman defeated Al Nasr in their last two encounters at Al Maktoum Stadium and none of their previous league clashes ended in a goalless draw.
Al Nasr coach Krunoslav Jurčić said his team needs to be cautious against Ajman. “It will be a tough test, but we have to fight for the three points,” he added.
The Oranges manager Ayman Al Ramady revealed his team will miss the services of eight players for injuries. He, however, affirmed his confidence in the players’ abilities.
Elsewhere, Bani Yas will host Al Jazira at the same time in the most anticipated game of the week. The Sky Blues top the table on nine points and continued to impress in the last matchweek with a 5-0 over Khorfakkan. They will be looking to extend their winning streak when they face Al Jazira at home.
On the other hand, the Pride of Abu Dhabi will want to maintain the momentum after beating Kalba 2-0 to earn their first win in the season and move to sixth on five points.
Bani Yas are expected to face an uphill task as they only have three wins to their name in 18 clashes against Al Jazira in the league (11 defeats – 4 draws). The Sky Blues also never kept a clean sheet against the Pride of Abu Dhabi in the league and conceded 46 goals in 18 matches.
Bani Yas coach Daniel Isaila said that Al Jazira clash represents a new test for his side. He expressed happiness by his team’s results in the first three matchweeks, saying the players have what it takes to continue creating records.
Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer praised their opponents Bani Yas, saying his team needs to be fully focused. He also added that the finishing touch represents Al Jazira’s biggest problem at the moment.