Last round before the break - Arabian Gulf League
Wednesday, the 15th of February witnesses the start of the last round of Arabian Gulf League action ahead of a two-weeks break as Al Ain, Al Ahli, Al Jazira and Al Wahda all compete in the first round of the 2017 AFC Champions League group stage before returning to their main annual competition on the third of March.
Round 19 of the league takes place over the space of three days; Wednesday sees three matches starting with the clash of Hatta and Al Ahli at Hatta Stadium at 17:25. The hosts, currently sitting in ninth place with 20 points after a 2-0 win over Emirates last week, go into the match in pursuit of three points to pull them further away from the danger zone. In turn, third placed Al Ahli, fresh from a 4-1 win over Al Shabab, look to secure the points to keep their title hopes alive.
At 17:30, top of the table Al Jazira with 47 points host second bottom side Emirates with 12 points at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Day 1 of round 19 concludes with the clash of Al Shabab and Al Ain at 20:15 at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium ‘The Hawks' suffered a 1-4 Dubai derby defeat at the hands of Al Ahli and will be looking to give their fans something to cheer about when they host fourth placed Al Ain who succumbed to a 1-2 home defeat against Dibba last week, freezing them at 37 points, full ten points adrift of the top spot.
The first of Thursday's two matches kick-off at 17:35 at Hamdan bin Zayed Stadium in the Western Region where high flying Al Dhafra look to add to their 26 points after a 2-1 win over Kalba last week put them in fifth place. They host a Bani Yas team rooted to the bottom of the table with just 8 points after yet another defeat last week at the hands of Al Jazira 3-1.
In Thursday night's fixture, kicking-off at 20:15 at Al Nahyan Stadium, Al Wahda look to make amends following a 0-3 defeat against Al Nasr last time out that saw them drop to sixth place with 25 points. They face the challenge of tenth placed Sharjah, eager to escape keep their distance from the late season relegation struggle, having been edged out by Al Wasl 1-2 last week.
The final day of Arabian Gulf League before the break starts at 17:25 when seventh placed Al Nasr travel to Kalba instead of Fujairah to face 12th placed Dibba. ‘The Blues', aim to add to their 25 points while Dibba look to build on their deserved 2-1 victory over Al Ain last round to move away from the relegation zones.
The round concludes with the 20:15 Friday night match between Al Wasl and Kalba at Dubai's Zaebeel Stadium. The home side became Al Jazira's nearest challenger at the top of the table with a win against Shrajah last week that took them to 39 points in second place. Kalba, meanwhile, suffered a 1-2 home defeat to Al Dhafra to freeze at 16 points in 11th place, still embroiled in the survival race.
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