Various battles as Arabian Gulf League hots up
Round 15 of the Arabian Gulf League saw minor changes at both ends of the table; Al Jazira stayed top, with 38 points following a 3-1 win against Al Ain on Monday's rescheduled round 8 fixture at Hazaa bin Zayed Stadium. The losing side, Al Ain, dropped to third with 32 points, one point behind second placed Al Ahli and one point ahead of fourth placed Al Wasl. There were no changes in the next two positions as Al Wahda and Al Nasr kept their places in fifth (24 points) and sixth (22 points) respectively following derby defeats for both.
Al Dhafra leaped Al Shabab into seventh place while ‘The Hawks' 0-4 defeat against Kalba saw them drop into eighth place with 21 points. Sharjah and Hatta shared the points in a goalless draw to stay ninth and tenth respectively with 16 points each. Kalba remained 11th with 15 points while Emirates, Dibba and Baniyas continue to battle for relegation, occupying the last three places with 9, 9 and 5 points respectively. The race across the table continues in in round 16 which kicks off on Thursday and continues through to Saturday. Day one sees high-flying duo Kalba and Hatta clash at 17:10 at Kalba Stadium. The hosts come into the game on the back of an impressive 4-0 win over Al Shabab in the previous round and will be looking to add to their 15 points tally so far. In the other game of Thursday evening, Al Wahda host Al Dhafra at 20:00. The hosts looking to give something back to their fans following heavy 5-1 derby defeat in their last match. Al Dhafra travel to Abu Dhabi's Al Nahyan Stadium with their eyes focused on reaching point 24 this season. Friday witnesses three fixtures, Emirates host Dibba at 17:10 in a relegation battle six-pointer. Both teams collected their ninth point of the season last week as Emirates stunned Al Ain 3-2 while Dibba overcame fellow relegation strugglers Bani Yas 4-3. In the second 17:10 kick-off, bottom side Bani Yas host Al Shabab. The hosts, on 5 points after just one win all season face an Al Shabab side reeling from a heavy defeat at the hands of Kalba last week. Dubai derby rounds of Friday's matches as Al Nasr host Al Wasl at 20:00 at Al Maktoum Stadium. ‘The Blues' go into the game with 22 points in sixth place after losing another Dubai derby last week against Al Ahli. In turn, Al Wasl are eight points better-off in fourth place after a 1-1 draw against Al Dhafra last round. Round 16 concludes on Saturday with 2 matches; Sharjah host Al Jazira at 17:15 while the best is saved to last as title contenders Al Ahli and Al Ain clash at ‘The Red Knights' Rashid Stadium in Dubai at 20:15. An exciting fanfare is expected as the two teams look to put pressure on leaders Al Jazira with the three points.
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