AGLEAGUE: Final matchweek preview
The 2018/19 season of the Arabian Gulf League is coming to an end as the final matchweek kicks off on Saturday night.
Shabab Al Ahli face Fujairah, Emirates Club play with Sharjah and Dibba play with Bani Yas in the opening day of matchweek 26. The action resumes on Sunday when Al Nasr face Al Jazira, Al Dhafra clash with Ajman, Al Wahda play with Al Ain and Al Wasl face Ittihad Kalba. All games are set to kick off at 22:00.
The Arabian Gulf League future of Emirates Club, Fujairah and Dibba will be decided on Saturday. A tight relegation battle left Dibba at the bottom of the table on 16 points, two behind Fujairah and Emirates.
The Sailors reduced the gap with their relegation rivals after beating Ittihad Kalba in the penultimate matchweek. Dibba’s results improved in the second half of the season as they collected a total of 12 points, compared to 10 points earned by Emirates Club and only five collected by Fujairah.
To avoid relegation, Dibba have no option but to beat Bani Yas, while hoping their rivals drop points. The Sky Blues are sixth on 39 points, and have no chance of securing a top-four spot. A win for Dibba would also avenge their 6-1 defeat to Bani Yas in the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, Emirates Club will host league champions Sharjah. Emirates Club are 12th on the standings on 18 points, while Sharjah top the table on 56 points. Despite facing a tough opponent, the Falcons might have a relatively easy game, considering the King have already sealed the title.
Shabab Al Ahli host Fujairah in another decisive game. Fujairah, who sit 13th on 18 points, are in dire need of the three points as they fight to avoid relegation. Meanwhile, Shabab Al Ahli, who are on 53 points, have already sealed a second-place finish and a spot in next season’s AFC Champions League.
Asian Champions League race
On Sunday, the teams fight for a different goal as they battle for a spot in next season’s AFC Champions League. Going into the final day of the UAE league season, three teams (Al Ain, Al Wahda and Al Jazira) still have a chance of securing the last two spots for next season’s Asian Champions League.
The third-placed team automatically qualify to the competition’s group stage, while the fourth-placed side go into a preliminary round.
Al Wahda face Al Ain in a decisive clash for both sides at Al Nahyan Stadium. The Clarets are fifth on 43 points, three behind third-placed Al Ain.
After an impressive performance throughout the second half of the season, Al Wahda moved to the top third of the table and still have a chance to play continental football next season.
On the other hand, the Boss dropped crucial points in the second half of the season, before regaining their balance in the past period. They've most recently defeated Al Wasl 5-1.
Al Jazira play with Al Nasr at Al Maktoum Stadium in another important clash for the top-four battle. The Pride of Abu Dhabi sit fourth on 45 points, while Al Nasr are eighth on 33 points.
Two relatively low profile matches take place on Sunday night. Al Dhafra, who sit 10th on 29 points, face seventh-placed Ajman at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, while Al Wasl face Ittihad Kalba at Zabeel Stadium. The Cheethas are ninth on 33 points, nine above 11th-placed Kalba.