Three games are scheduled to be held on Thursday, the opening day of matchweek 3 of the Arabian Gulf League, with Al Dhafra hosting Fujairah, Al Jazira facing Ittihad Kalba and Al Wasl playing against Al Nasr.
Al Jazira and Ittihad Kalba will kick off the action when they face off at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium at 6:15pm. After their disappointing start to the season, the Pride of Abu Dhabi will be looking collect their first win, as they sit in 10th place on two points only from two draws. They are one place below Kalba, who have three points after losing a game and winning the other.
The two sides faced off in the first leg of the Arabian Gulf Cup this season and the game ended in a 2-1 win for Kalba.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi remain undefeated against Ittihad Kalba in the Arabian Gulf League; They won nine games and drew one. Ali Mabkhout also holds an impressive record against Kalba, as he was involved in 10 out of the last 15 goals scored by Al Jazira against Kalba (8 goals and 2 assists).
Despite failing to earn a win in their past two games, Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer said he is not worried about the team’s performance. He added, “the players did their best and they were out of luck.”
His Ittihad Kalba counterpart, coach Jorge da Silva, said his team are in a good shape after their recent win over Ajman. “This is different than the cup game. Al Jazira are a strong team and won’t be affected by the absences,” he added.
At the same time, Al Dhafra will be playing at home against Fujairah. Al Dhafra will be looking to maintain their impressive start to the season, as they are currently third on four points. Meanwhile, Fujairah will be facing an uphill task, as they sit 12th with no points after losing their first two games.
In their previous encounters in the Arabian Gulf League, Al Dhafra and Fujairah each emerged victorious once, while four games ended in a draw.
Fujairah manager Goran Tufegdžić revealed that he addressed the team’s mistakes in the past two games. He added that the players need to be fully focused in the second half and that they’re prepared to achieve victory.
On the other hand, Al Dhafra coach Aleksandar Veselinović expressed happiness over his team’s performances in the past two matchweeks. He said that his team will be without the services of some players but stressed that the available players will do their best.
The last game of the day will see Al Wasl host Al Nasr at Zabeel Stadium at 9pm. After a 4-1 defeat to Bani Yas in the opening week, Al Wasl earned a late 4-2 win over Hatta under the leadership of new coach Salem Rabee to move to eighth place on three points. They sit one point behind sixth-placed Al Nasr, who drew with Al Jazira in the opening week before defeating Khorfakkan in matchweek 2.
Al Wasl have a tough task ahead, as they lost their last three games against Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League.
Al Wasl coach Salem Rabee said that his side will be looking to get a positive result. He added, “we acknowledge the difficulty of the derby game and the strength of Al Nasr, but it remains a game worth three points.”
Meanwhile, Al Nasr coach Krunoslav Jurčić stressed that his team is focused on getting the three points. He added, “we respect all teams but we’re going there to get the full points.”