Arabian Gulf League reaches final station
After a thrilling season, full of ups and downs, and after the 12 teams battled in a total of 126 games over the course of 21 matchweeks, the 2017/18 Arabian Gulf League train reaches its final station with six fixtures concluding the competition in its matchweek 22 on Saturday and Sunday. The title race continued until the penultimate weekend, before Al Ain secured the top spot. Meanwhile, the battle at the bottom of the table remains heated between Al Dhafra and Emirates, after Hatta were consigned to the relegation play-off in matchweek 21. The final weekend kicks-off at Hatta's Hamdan bin Rashid Stadium where the Hurricanes host eighth-placed Ajman at 18:00 on Saturday. The Oranges have 26 points to their name, level with Sharjah who welcome Dibba to the Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium at 20:30 on the same day. Sunday sees the remaining four games all kicking-off at 19:20, to ensure fair competition as survival spots and AFC Champions League places remain up for grabs. Al Ain celebrate their title win in front of their home crowd when they host Al Dhafra at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, but the visitors will throw everything at the champions as they fight for their top-flight status. The Western Knights are tenth in the table, with 18 points. A win will secure their safety, while any stumble will leave their fate hanging on the result of their relegation rivals Emirates who face Al Nasr at the same time. The Falcons, in turn, have no choice but to get the three points against fourth-placed Al Nasr at Emirates Club Stadium. Even with the three points, the Ras Al Khaima side will have to hope for Al Dhafra to slip if they are to avoid the misery of a relegation play-off. The Blues make the trip north with their eyes firmly focused on the AFC Champions League qualifying third place, currently occupied by their arch-rivals Al Wasl, who better them by two points. The two-point advantage, coupled with a superior head-to-head record against Al Nasr, means one point is enough for Al Wasl to finish third, but that is far from a simple task as the Cheetahs travel across town to Rashid Stadium for the stern challenge of fellow Dubai side Shabab Al Ahli who are set to finish fifth in the table. The last fixture of the season is the Abu Dhabi derby, bringing together Al Wahda, the confirmed runners-up, against Al Jazira, the previous champions who are currently sixth in the table and could drop as low as eighth as both Sharjah and Ajman have the chance to close the two-point gap if the Pride of Abu Dhabi lose against their city rivals at Zayed Sport City on Sunday.