New challenges in Arabian Gulf League matchweek 8
The Arabian Gulf League wheels are turning again this weekend as six games take place over Friday and Saturday in matchweek 8 of the competition. Teams go into the two-day action with varying ambitions; some are looking to keep their place at the heart of competition for the title while others strive to escape the bottom of the table.
Hatta welcome Al Nasr to Hamdan bin Rashid Stadium to get the action underway at 16:40 on Friday. The hosts are rooted to the foot of the table and in dire need of points at home against an Al Nasr side reeling after the Bur Dubai derby defeat to Al Wasl in matchweek 7 left them fifth with ten points.
Sharjah travel the short distance across the Emirate's northern border to face Ajman at Rashid bin Saeed Stadium in a critical battle between two sides separated by one place and one points. Sharjah's first win of the campaign, a 1-0 triumph over Emirates, lifted them to tenth with six points while Ajman added a seventh point to their tally with a goalless draw at Al Dhafra last time out.
Friday's 19:45 kick-off brings a trip to Zabeel Stadium for eighth-placed Al Dhafra to face the challenge of leaders Al Wasl who have 17 points to their name. The Cheetahs are eager for a win to cement their place at the top for another week while the visiting Western Knights are looking to arrest a recent slump in form that has left them winless in their past five games.
Day 2 kicks-off at Emirates Club Stadium at 16:40 where Emirates play hosts to the challenge of Al Wahda. A win for the visitors would keep them in the title race after a defeat to Al Ain in matchweek 7 left them behind the leading duo of Al Wasl and Al Ain.
Makhete Diop and co look to end a three-match goal-drought when they welcome Dibba to Rashid Stadium at 16:45. Shabab Al Ahli's run of three goalless draw against Sharjah, Al Wahda and Al Jazira left them fourth in the table with 12 points while Dibba are aiming to build on a promising start of the season that saw them collect eight points from seven games to sit in seventh place.
Matchweek 8 concludes with a heavy clash between Al Ain and Al Jazira at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium at 19:45 on Saturday. The hosts go into the game buoyed by the 1-0 Classico win at Al Wahda which took them to 17 points, level with leaders Al Wasl. In turn, Al Jazira's indifferent start to the season had continued in matchweek 7 with a goalless home draw against Shabab Al Ahli as they sit sixth with nine points.