Depleted Al Ain face a monumental task this weekend to overturn their first-leg deficit at Khor Fakkan when the new-look Arabian Gulf Cup’s first round culminates.
The Boss went down to a 4-2 defeat last month when competitive football returned to the UAE after 208 days away, because of Coronavirus. This week’s start of another international break has granted space in the calendar to undertake second legs.
Bani Yas will hope on Thursday to negate a downturn in form when they defend a 2-0 lead against Arabian Gulf League stragglers Hatta, Ajman must respond to a 1-0 reversal at Fujairah and Al Jazira hope to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Ittihad Kalba on home soil. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club will on Friday undertake a 500-kilometre round trip to Al Dhafra after a 1-1 draw and Al Wasl are 2-1 up versus Al Wahda.
A new format is in place for 2020/21, with the group stages gone and knockouts applied from the start. The first round has taken place minus holders Al Nasr and 2018/19 top flight champions Sharjah because they have byes until the quarter-finals, plus a plethora of leading players via call-ups.
ARABIAN GULF CUP FIXTURES
18:00 Bani Yas (2) v (0) Hatta
18:00 Ajman (0) v (1) Fujairah
21:00 Al Jazira (1) v (2) Ittihad Kalba
18:00 Al Dhafra (1) v (1) Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club
18:00 Khor Fakkan (4) v (2) Al Ain
21:00 Al Wasl (2) v (1) Al Wahda
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