Kalba look to bounce back against Al Dharfa as Ajman face Fujairah - GulfToday

Kalba look to bounce back against Al Dharfa as Ajman face Fujairah

Ittihad Kalba will look to bounce back against Al Dhafra in their second round match of the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC) after losing their opening game to Al Nasr 3-0 in the inaugural round on Friday.

After the emphatic win, Al Nasr have gone to the top of the table with three points in their kitty. Al Nasr had the upper hand in the early minutes of the game and were already 1-0 up after eight minutes.

After Brandley Kuwas found Jassem Yaqoub’s cross inside the box before sending the ball into the back of Jamal Ali’s net, Al Nasr never looked back and dominated the game till the end.

Though Kalba made some valiant effort to make a comeback it failed to break the deadlock and the match turned out to be a lopsided affair. Kalba are at the bottom of Group A. Al Dhafra will also look to kick-start their first game of the competition on a winning note.

Kalba coach Fabio Viviani expressed his disappointment over the loss in the first round.

He said: “I am really disappointed with that result and it was becaue we made too many mistakes during the game.”

Kalba’s player Khalid Al Shehhi vowed a better show. He said: “It is going to be a  tough game and we will try to improve the image of the team with a better performance. Our goal is to achieve a positive result and earn three points.”

After the first match of the second round between Hatta and Al Wasl was played on Monday, the action resumes on Friday when Kalba take on Al Dhafra at 19:15 and in Group B, Ajman travel to face Fujairah at 21:30 later in the evening.

Fabio de Lima netted a brace as Al Wasl earned a hard-fought 4-3 win over 10-man Hatta in the opening Group B encounter.

However, the game marked Al Wasl’s first match of the 2019/20 season. The newly promoted side entered the matchweek 2 encounter on the back of a 0-0 draw with Ajman in their first group.

After a goalless stalemate, Ajman are sitting on the fifth position in their group while Hatta, who have one point from two games, are one place above their first match opponents.

Ajman will be trying to improve after their disappointing 0-0 draw with Hatta in the first round, according to coach Ayman El Ramady.

Fujairah will also bid to get their campaign back on the track with a victory over Ajman after losing to Al Wahda in the first round. Fujairah are second from the bottom with zero points after loss in the opening match.

Three games are set to take place on Saturday as Al Wahda face Arabian Gulf League champions Sharjah, Khor Fakkan play with Al Nasr and defending champions Shabab Al Ahli clash with Al Jazira.

After their disappointing performance in the AGC last season, Sharjah started this season’s edition in a similar fashion as they lost 2-0 to Bani Yas to sit at the bottom of the group.  

They’ll face a tough task against Al Wahda who earned an easy 3-1 win over Fujairah last week. Sharjah have bolstered their defence during the summer transfer window and will look to bounce back and register their first win against high-flying Al Wahda. The match is being billed as Sharjah defence versus Al Wahda attack.

Abu Dhabi club made wholesale changes to their squad and bolstered their attack while Sharjah roped in new defenders to strengthen their water-tight defence. Sharjah had conceded minimum numbers of goals in the last season in AGL.

At the same time, Khor Fakkan host Al Nasr at Ittihad Kalba Stadium. The newly promoted side lost their opening game to Al Jazira 3-1, while Al Nasr earned the biggest win of the campaign so far.

The last game of the round will see holders Shabab Al Ahli play Al Jazira at Rashid Stadium. Shabab Al Ahli grabbed a late 2-2 draw with Al Ain in the first game, while Al Jazira overpowered Khor Fakkan 3-1.

Shabab Al Ahli are in third spot after the draw with one point while Al Jazira are one place above them after the table-topper Al Nasr in Group A. Al Jazira will look to extend their winning stint to go top.

The second matchweek is set to be played without the UAE international players who were called up to the national team’s training camp in Bahrain in preparation for Asia’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

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