On Nov. 3, Kuwait's Al-Arabi Club will face the UAE's Al-Shabab Club at home in the third round of Group A of the 25th Gulf Club Championship.
Playing an away game, Al-Shabab will face a difficult test for two reasons. First, the team lost the first leg of the confrontation at home as a result of two goals scored by Ali Ashkanani and Croatian player Igor Novakovic in the 5th and 90th minutes, respectively.
Second, Al-Shabab has achieved weak results so far in the UAE Professionals League competitions, losing three out of four matches and gaining only three out of a possible 12 points. The club’s recent record does not tally with the aspirations of its management and fans, considering that Al-Shabab won the title in the UAE league last season.
These factors led to the dismissal of Brazilian coach Toninho Cerezo and the hiring of Iraqi coach Abd al-Wahhab Abd al-Qadir to train and lead the team in the Nov. 3 match for the first time this season.
In the other camp, it appears that Al-Arabi is on its way to qualify, having scored six points in two matches. The Kuwaiti club is now seeking its third consecutive victory, to compensate for its departure from the Asian Football Confederation Cup tournament after losing on penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round to Al-Karamah of Syria.
The following are the results for Group A:
The UAE's Al-Shabab vs. Kuwait's Al-Arabi (0-2)
Bahrain's Al-Muharraq vs. the UAE's Al-Shabab (1-0)
Kuwait's Al-Arabi vs. Bahrain's Al-Muharraq (1-0)
The following are the current standings for Group A:
1 – Kuwait's Al-Arabi: 6 points from two matches
2 – Bahrain's Al-Muharraq: 3 points from two matches
3 – UAE's Al-Shabab: 0 points from two matches
Only the team in first place can qualify for the semi-finals of the Gulf tournament.