Abu Dhabi: Bottom club Dubai will hope to capitalise on the unavailability of some of Al Jazira’s key players through injury or suspension when the two teams meet on Thursday in the 19th week of the Arabian Gulf League.
The third-place Abu Dhabi team will be without striker Abdul Aziz Barrada, their top scorer with seven goals, who was sent off during the match against Al Dhafra last week. Al Jazira also won’t be able to call on their other main forward Ali Mabkhoot, who has scored six goals, after he too collected his third yellow card against Al Dhafra.
The UAE Football Association’s disciplinary committee also suspended Khalid Sabeel, the Al Jazira defender, for one match and he will sit out Thursday’s game. Sabeel was penalised for a brawl with Dr. Abdullah Misfir, the head coach of Al Dhafra.
Meanwhile, league leaders Al Ahli, sitting on 42 points, are expected to find the going tough against eighth-place Bani Yas in the absence of their attacking midfielder Luis Jimenez, who was sent off last week during their match against Emirates.
It will be the first match in charge for Bani Yas’ new Iraqi coach, Adnan Hamad, who replaced Jorge Da Silva.
In other matches, Al Shabab will travel to Ajman to face a team high on morale after their brilliant wins over Al Jazira and Al Wasl.
These victories have helped move Ajman out of the relegation zone into 12th place with 15 points.
On Friday, 13th-place Al Shaab, with 10 points, host Emirates, who are 11th with 16, in a true relegation battle.
The management and medical staff of Al Shaab are racing against time to restore their key striker Michel N’Dri to fitness so that he can play in the crucial encounter after sustaining an injury in last week’s defeat to Al Shabab.
Also on Friday, Al Nasr will host reigning champions Al Ain.
Dubai vs Al Jazira, 5.30pm
Ajman vs Al Shabab, 5.30pm
Al Ahli vs Bani Yas, 8.15pm
Al Nasr vs Al Ain, 5.30pm
Al Dhafra vs Al Wasl, 5.40pm
Al Shaab vs Emirates, 8.15pm
Al Wahda vs Sharjah, 8.15pm