The competition for the 2018/19 Arabian Gulf League title could be determined this weekend, with Sharjah looking to make history. Here’s the situation heading into a likely determining round of fixtures.
Sharjah, the five-time UAE champions, holds a six-point lead, still with three rounds remaining. Only fact is, since 1996, they haven’t won the top-flight title and have spent a large amount of the professional era fighting deportation. In fact, they deteriorated in the First Division after the 2011/12 campaign. Last season, Sharjah ended sixth, their best performance since the league went pro in 2008.
Shabab Al Ahli is the only team capable of stopping Sharjah’s lunge. Sitting second, the Dubai side would most probably need to win their three remaining matches to keep any hope of a turnaround. They have tasted success already this season, winning both the Arabian Gulf Cup and the President’s Cup in the last month. Handled by the majestic Rodolfo Arruabarrena, they were the first trophies the club has won since Al Ahli, Al Shabab and Dubai club merged in 2017.
This Weekend Is Crucial
Sharjah knows it very well that, going by their first-rate head-to-head record, they only need to match Shabab Al Ahli’s result in Round 24 to be labeled as champions. Arruabarrena’s men would be traveling to Dubai rivals Al Nasr on Friday, whereas Sharjah would be making the trip to the Zabeel Stadium to take on grappling Al Wasl on Saturday.
The league leaders have become irritated recently, although; they have scored draw in their past three matches. This weekend, Sharjah round out the season against Al Wahda in home match and with Emirates in away.
Season Is Important
Regardless the run of three matches without victory, Sharjah remain undefeated this campaign. They have won 15 and drawn eight, accepting the least goals in the division (24) and bragging the best goal difference (+26).