A home win, an away win and a draw wrapped up the action in day 1 of matchweek 5 of the Arabian Gulf League, which is set to resume on Sunday with four other matches.
The first game of the day will see Hatta host Al Nasr at Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium at 6pm.
Hatta, who lost 3-0 to Shabab Al Ahli in matchweek 4, remain winless this season and occupy 13th place with one point only. They will clash with Al Nasr who earned three straight wins after their draw with Al Jazira in the opening matchweek and moved to third spot with 10 points following their 3-0 win over Ajman in the midweek matches.
During the pre-match press conference, Hatta coach said that he is aware of the strengths and weaknesses of Al Nasr players, thanks to his long experience in the Arabian Gulf League. “However, my knowledge won’t make the difference. It is the efforts on the pitch that seal the win. We have to remain focused, especially that Al Nasr are a strong team that have quality players within their ranks,” he explained.
On the other hand, Al Nasr manager Krunoslav Jurčić refused to evaluate Hatta based on their previous results this season. “I expect a strong game, especially that Hatta are keen to get a win, while we are looking to maintain our good results this season,” he added.
Meanwhile, Khorfakkan will be playing against Shabab Al Ahli at Saqr bin Mohammed al Qassimi Stadium.
Khorfakkan are in a tough position as they remain the only team with no wins so far, lingering at the bottom of the table on zero points. Their opponents Shabab Al Ahli enter the game on the back of a 3-0 over Hatta, which marked their second win of the season and raised their tally to eight points in fourth place.
Khorfakkan coach Caio Zanardi revealed during the pre-match press conference they will be looking to get a positive result against Shabab Al Ahli. “We acknowledge the difficulty of the game and we are trying to address our mistakes. We know that our opponents have an excellent group of players,” he added.
His Shabab Al Ahli counterpart Gerard Zaragoza said he respects Khorfakkan, especially after their good performance against Al Wahda and their win over Al Ain in the Arabian Gulf Cup. He added, “we are not worried about the tight schedule. We used to play every three or four days in the AFC Champions League. Tight schedules help us gain experience.”
Al Nahyan Stadium will see Al Wahda host Al Wasl at 9pm. Both teams enter the game on back of wins in matchweek 4; Al Wahda returned to winning ways with a close 2-1 victory over Khorfakkan, while Al Wasl collected their second win of the season through a 3-0 victory over Kalba. The Clarets are seventh on seven points, one above ninth-placed Al Wasl.
The Clarets manager Vuk Rasovic expects a tough game against Al Wasl. “We know them well, and we faced off earlier in the season in the Arabian Gulf Cup,” he added.
Meanwhile, Al Wasl coach Salem Rabee said, “we have to focus on ourselves as we are looking to secure a positive result before the international break.”
At the same time, Ittihad Kalba will be playing at home against Fujairah. Kalba lost their past two games to drop to 10th place on three points. Meanwhile, Fujairah, who occupy the 12th place, clinched their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw with Al Ain in matchweek 4.
Kalba coach Jorge Da Silva said, “the team created a lot of scoring chances in the previous game, but we were unlucky. I’m sure goals will eventually come. We are preparing for a strong derby game and we hope to get a positive result,” he added.
On the other hand, Fujairah coach Goran Tufegdžić said that despite the tight schedule, his side need to get a win to improve their position on the standings. “We had a good game against Al Ain in the previous matchweek. We respect all Kalba players and we have to remain focused for the full 90 minutes,” he added.