An acid test of resurgent Bani Yas’ Arabian Gulf League aspirations is set to come in match-week four when star-studded Al Jazira visit.
The prolific Sky Blues have provided the feel-good story of 2020/21, notching 12 times in three emphatic wins to go top. An Abu Dhabi-derby with Marcel Keizer’s troops, however, represents a marked step-up in opposition.
“We prepare for all matches in the same way,” said boss Daniel Isaila, who is revolutionising a side who were ninth under Winfried Schafer upon 2019/20’s March stoppage because of coronavirus. “We do not focus on a strong or weak team as there is no easy match in the league, so we must focus throughout the match to produce a positive result.”
2018/19 champions Sharjah are the division’s only other holders of a 100-per-cent record. They face an exacting examination on the same night against a determined Al Dhafra who’ve made the last two President’s Cup finals, plus are experiencing a seamless transition from the successful Vuk Rasovic – now at Al Wahda – to fellow Serbian coach Aleksandar Veselinovic.
“The Western Knights are a stubborn team, offering distinctive and strong levels,” said King defender Salem Sultan.
“But we look forward to this game in determination to be stronger, continue our series of victories and come out with all three points.”
Record 13-time-winners Al Ain aim to mount an instant recovery from their error-strewn weekend loss against Sharjah when they undertake a trip to pointless Fujairah, while Khor Fakkan’s bid to get off the mark on Wednesday doesn’t get any easier when an Ismail Matar-inspired Wahda travel to the east coast.
Israel playmaker Dia Saba’s Al Nasr must aim to put down another title marker versus struggling Ajman and last season’s leaders Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club should be highly confident of snapping a two-match winless run when they host third-bottom Hatta. Ittihad Kalba and Al Wasl will be looking to ignite mixed campaigns when they clash.
MATCH-WEEK FOUR FIXTURES
18:00 Fujairah v Al Ain
18:00 Sharjah v Al Dhafra
21:00 Bani Yas v Al Jazira
21:00 Al Nasr v Ajman
18:00 Ittihad Kalba v Al Wasl
18:00 Khor Fakkan v Al Wahda
21:00 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club v Hatta
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