The Arabian Gulf League (AGL) resumes on Friday after a two-week break during which Al Ain, Al Ahli, Al Jazira and Al Wahda competed in the first two rounds of the AFC Champions League group stage.
The 20th round of the league is designated the "Round of Hope" in support of children with cancer, and will take place over two days with three matches held on Friday and four on Saturday.
As the AGL enters the business end of the season, all fixtures are expected to be highly competitive with the race for top four and the relegation battle both in full swing.
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Round 20 kicks-off at 17:30 on Friday at Emirates Club Stadium where 13th placed Emirates look to add to their 12 points when they face seventh placed Al Dhafra who play with no pressure. The hosts look to bounce back from their 0-5 defeat against Al Jazira in their most recent league outing. Al Dhafra meanwhile, suffered a 0-1 home defeat against Bani Yas.
The latter are looking to make it back-to-back wins when they host fourth placed Al Wasl at with the aim of adding to their 11 points which see them rooted to the foot of the table. ‘The Cheetahs' enter the game with 40 points to their name and their stated objective will be to secure a top-four spot to guarantee their qualification to the 2018 AFC Champions League.
Day one concludes at Al Nasr's Al Maktoum Stadium where the sixth placed Blues host 11th placed Sharjah who are still not entirely safe from relegation with just 17 points.
Dibba kick-off Saturday's fixtures at Fujairah Stadium, hosting eighth placed Al Shabab. The hosts enter the match in high spirits on the back of a 0-0 draw at Al Nasr. A win would give them a massive boost in their bid to stay up while Al Shabab's 24 points mean they are one of the teams with not much to play for.
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Kalba Stadium plays host to fifth place Al Wahda who are 12 points off the final top four spot occupied by Al Wasl. Kalba moved into 10th place and will be looking to further secure their stay in the top division.
The kick-off at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium pits third placed Al Ain with 40 points against Ninth Hatta with half as many points. The hosts remain hopeful of a late run to close the 10-point gap that separates them from leaders Al Jazira. Hatta look to recover from a heavy 0-3 home defeat to Al Ahli last round.
The best is saved till last as table-topping Al Jazira clash with their nearest challengers Al Ahli at Rashid Stadium in Dubai in the 20:30 Saturday evening kick-off. The visitors, sitting on 50 points, are looking to move 12 points clear off Al Ahli to move closer to the big trophy. ‘The Red Knights' are, meanwhile, eyeing a victory to keep the pressure on Al Jazira.