Arabian Gulf League title battle resumes with Al Ahli looking to maintain lead over Al Ain

The Arabian Gulf League resumes after a three-week hiatus for the international break and the focus will be on the two title contenders, leaders Al Ahli and the defending champions Al Ain.

Douglas scored twice in AL Ain's 2-1 victory away to Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday. Arshad Khan Aboobaker / AGL
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The Arabian Gulf League resumes after a three-week hiatus for the international break and the focus will be on the two title contenders, leaders Al Ahli and the defending champions Al Ain.

A point separates the two with five rounds left, and every game will count for them as the title race reaches boiling point.

Ahli meet Al Jazira hoping to capitalise on their opponents midweek exerts in the Asian Champions League, where Jazira ent down 1-0 to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Wednesday. The Abu Dhabi club remain rooted to the bottom of Group C on one point after four games.

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Douglas at the double as Al Ain secure victory over Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli in ACL

Al Nasr play it safe while Al Jazira crash out of Asian Champions League

Henk ten Cate, the Jazira coach, will have his hands full to boost his players’ morale on Sunday at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium. Jazira are seventh in the AGL table, seven points off the top four.

Al Ain, too, know they can ill-afford to lose ground on the leaderswhen they meet Al Nasr at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on the same night in the late game.

Al Ain and Al Nasr also were in action in the Asian Champions League this week: Nasr drew 0-0 at home to Al Ittihad on Wednesday and Al Ain beat Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli 2-1 away on Tuesday.

Zlatko Dalic, the Al Ain coach, was predictably pleased with his team’s victory in Jeddah.

“We achieved a good win against a strong team,” he said after the game against the Saudi side.

“We had a good lead by the end of the first half and we went into the second period looking to double our advantage and this is what we achieved.

“The three points are very important because it is an away win. However, this doesn’t mean that we are close as we still have two matches. We must concentrate to win those matches and secure our place in the knockout stage.”

Nasr’s victory took them up to second in Asian Champions League Group A on seven points. They return to domestic matters still chasing a top-four finish in the AGL and currently sit fifth two points behind Al Wahda in fourth.

In the rest of the matches, starting tonight, Sharjah play Al Dhafra and Dibba meet Fujairah as the quartet look to put daylight between them and the bottom two. In tonight’s other game, third-place Al Wasl travel to Baniyas.

Al Wahda, fresh from winning the Arabian Gulf Cup, will be at home to Emirates, and Al Shabab, who lost to Wahda in the final on Saturday, take on bottom team Al Shaab, both on Saturday.

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