Matchweek 3 of the Arabian Gulf League concludes on Friday, as Ajman host Hatta, Al Wahda face Shabab Al Ahli, Al Ain clash with Sharjah and Bani Yas face Khorfakkan.
The action resumes at 6:15pm when Ajman host Hatta at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium. Both teams will be fighting for a positive result after their disappointing starts to the season. They both remain on zero points, with Ajman sitting in 12th place and Hatta lingering at the bottom of the table.
The two teams have more in common than their tally this season. They faced off twice before in the Arabian Gulf League, with each team emerging winners in one game and both ended with the same 1-0 result.
Ajman coach Ayman Al Ramady said he is confident his players will get back on track. He also added that he expects a tough game as both sides are looking to collect their first points of the season.
On the other side, Hatta manager Christos Kontis said his team are facing pressure after failing to earn any points in their first two games. "I have confidence in the players' abilities, the young players and the experienced ones," he added.
At the same time, Al Wahda will be playing against Shabab Al Ahli at Al Nahyan Stadium. After their big 6-0 win over Khorfakkan in the opening week, the Clarets lost 2-1 to Sharjah in matchweek 2. They now sit eighth on three points, one less than seventh-placed Shabab Al Ahli, who won a game and drew the other.
Al Wahda's recent record against Shabab Al Ahli in the Arabian Gulf League is unflattering. They earned one win only in their last 16 encounters with the Dubai-based side.
Al Wahda manager Vuk Rašović said that he may face some difficulties in choosing the match squad and creating a balance between experienced and young players. He added, "we have to do our best to earn a positive result."
Shabab Al Ahli coach Gerard Zaragoza acknowledged the difficulty of the game but revealed that he enjoys taking part in such games, which "motivates players and technical staff to do their best".
Al Ain will face Sharjah at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium at 9pm in the most anticipated game of the week. The Boss enter the game in sixth place on the back of a 1-1 draw with Shabab Al Ahli, while the King are fourth with full points.
The Boss failed to earn a win against Sharjah in their last four encounters in the Arabian Gulf League (2 defeats and 2 draws). Meanwhile, the Pride of Abu Dhabi never kept a clean sheet against Al Ain in the league.
Goals are expected on Friday, as none of their 20 league clashes ended in a goalless draw and a total of 72 goals were scored with an average of 3.6 goals per game.
Al Ain coach Pedro Emanuel said he is pleased with his team's performance in their previous game against Shabab Al Ahli. He added, "the team need to maintain their good performances and achieve victory."
Meanwhile, Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari said his team prepared well for the Al Ain clash, adding that he has "confidence in the players' abilities."
At the same time, Bani Yas will be looking to maintain their perfect start to the season when they host Khorfakkan. The Sky Blues currently sit third with six points. They will be facing Khorfakkan, who lost their two games, and sit in 11th place on no points.
This marks the first ever clash between the two teams in the Arabian Gulf League.
The Sky Blues' coach Daniel Isăilă said his team need to fully focus on the game to get a positive result. "We have to be realistic. We won two games only and have a tough task ahead," he added.
On the other side, Khorfakkan coach Caio Zanardi believes his team is improving by time. "We will face a tough opponent. And we addressed the mistakes of the previous two matches," he explained.