(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Red knights need a win or a draw against visiting al wasl to seal their name on the title
Al ahli players celebrate after scoring a goal against iran's sepahan during their afc champions league group d match on march 19. ahli won 2-1. afp file
Al ahli fans are all out to celebrate their sixth national league’s silverware four rounds before the end of the season when they host traditional rivals al wasl in the 23rd round of the arabian gulf league at rashid stadium here on thursday night. the match is set to kick off at 8.30pm.
The red knights have won the inaugural title in 1974-1975 and they have successfully defended their title in the next season. they have won it in 1979-1980 2005-2006 and most recently in 2008-2009.
However al ahli are now showing the way with 52 points 12 points clear to stand one point away from the title and a win or a draw will see their drums beating at their stronghold rashid stadium.
The club’s management has also prepared for the big celebrations with free admission for all faithful fans provided they should wear the team’s colours. but contrary to early expectations al wasl’s clash is not going to be easy at all. and while the yellows have no title dreams or genuine relegation threats they may possibly repeat their 2-1 home victory. but the home team will have to do without the injured luis jimenez and abdulaziz sanqour for the game.
In the meantime al wasl have settled 11th with 21 points and the only danger will be the ability of bottom side dubai to win all their remaining four games while al wasl should lose them as well. in this case alone al wasl will be relegated to the lower division. and however this possibility is remote it does exist.
Elsewhere al shaab entertains al ain early in the afternoon at khalid bin mohammed stadium.
Al shaab is tailing off the standings table and seven points adrift from safety with four games remaining but a win against last season’s champions al ain could still keep their survival hopes alive. the visitors have endured a disappointing league season although their form has picked up of late and a top-4 finish is still a possibility.
In ras al khaimah emirates take on third-placed al jazira at their home ground in ras al khaimah. emirates are just above the drop zone and with only a four-point cushion could still be in danger of getting dragged downwards.
In dubai dubai looked dead and buried just a few rounds ago but a string of stirring results has given the club renewed hope of staying up. four points separate them from safety and a win against 8th-placed al dhafra this round would certainly go a long way in spicing up the relegation battle.
Bani yas’ season has fizzled out after a strong start and they will host a consistent sharjah side who can boast the best defensive record in the league after being promoted to the top flight in the summer. however only 6 points separate 4th-placed sharjah from 9th-placed bani yas and with four games remaining the race for a top-four finish remains wide open.
Speared on by 20 goals from the league’s 2nd-top scorer sebastian tagliabue al wahda now find themselves 5th and level on points with sharjah. ajman who were previously in serious relegation danger have successfully distanced themselves from the scrap at the bottom and now sit more comfortably in 11th place with 22 points.
In the final encounter al shabab play al nasr in the dubai dderby at al maktoum stadium on friday. al shabab let their title pursuit slip away but will still be keen to maintain their current second spot. al nasr meanwhile are still hopeful of a top-four finish whilst both these dubai sides have also progressed to the next stage in the gcc club cup.