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Arabian Gulf League preview: Matchweek 3

Three games are scheduled to be held on Thursday, the opening day of matchweek 3 of the Arabian Gulf League, before the action resumes on Friday with four other matches.


On Thursday, Al Dhafra are scheduled to host Fujairah, Al Jazira face Ittihad Kalba and Al Wasl play against Al Nasr. The following day will see Ajman host Hatta, Al Wahda face Shabab Al Ahli, Al Ain clash with Sharjah and Bani Yas face Khorfakkan.


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).  


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.


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.


Day 2


The action resumes on Friday when Ajman host Hatta at 6:15pm. 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 13th 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.


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 seventh on three points, one less than fourth-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 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 fifth place on the back of a 1-1 draw with Shabab Al Ahli, while the King are second 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.


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 top the standings 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.

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