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Arabian Gulf Cup semi-final first leg preview

Only four teams remain on the road to the Arabian Gulf Cup final. The first leg matches of the semi-final stage are scheduled to be held on Tuesday, February 9th. While the four teams may adopt a cautious approach in the first leg, two thrilling matches are expected, as the four teams will be seeking to earn a first leg advantage to edge a step closer towards the final.


The first of the two semi-finals pits Al Nasr against Ittihad Kalba, as the Blues host the Tigers at Al Maktoum Stadium with the kick-off scheduled at 17:30. While statistics sput titleholders Al Nasr as favorites to progress, Kalba shouldn’t be underestimated, after beating Al Jazira 3-2 on aggregate and Bani Yas on penalties to reach this stage. The Tigers play in the Arabian Gulf Cup semi-final for the first time in their history and will be looking to maintain their impressive performances and results in this season’s edition. They enter the game on the back of a 2-1 win over Ajman in the league, thanks to goals from Majed Rashed and Peniel Mlapa.


On the other hand, the titleholders received a bye into the quarter-final before earning a tough 2-1 aggregate win over Fujairah. In the league, Al Nasr returned to winning ways in matchweek 15 with a 2-1 win over Khorfakkan in a match that saw Mehdi Abeid net the winner in injury time. The Kalba clash will mark Ramon Diaz’s first game at the helm of the team, as he succeeds Krunoslav Jurcic, and the Argentine coach will definitely be looking to start his journey with an important win ahead of the second leg.


The other semi-final will kick off at 8:15pm and will see Al Wasl host Shabab Al Ahli at Zabeel Stadium. Al Wasl had a tough road towards the semi-final as they eliminated Al Wahda in the play-off round and saw off competition from Arabian Gulf League leaders Sharjah in the quarter-final. Al Wasl, who reached the semi-final for the sixth time in their history, will be seeking to repeat their 3-2 aggregate win over Shabab Al Ahli in the 2017-18 semi-final.


On the other hand, Shabab Al Ahli enter the game with high hopes after eliminating Al Dhafra with a 4-1 aggregate win in the play-off round and defeating Khorfakkan 9-2 on aggregate, which marked the biggest winning margin in the quarter-final this season. Shabab Al Ahli, who have recently won the Arabian Gulf Super Cup title, will be looking to maintain their recent positive performances to continue their march towards the fifth Arabian Gulf Cup title in their history.

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