x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Al Ain and Baniyas have fight on for third place

With three of the UAE's four Asian Champions League places as good as decided, Al Ain and Baniyas have been left to fight for third spot in the Pro League.

ABU DHABI // With three of the UAE's four Asian Champions League (ACL) places as good as decided, Al Ain and Baniyas have been left to fight for third spot in the Pro League, which will earn them a play-off to get into the group stages of the continental competition. Al Wahda and Al Jazira, virtually assured of the first two places in the league, should join Emirate, the President's Cup winners, in gaining direct passages to the group stage of next season's ACL.

Al Wahda (46 points) hold a five-point cushion over Al Jazira in the table. Al Ain are on 35 points and Baniyas 30 with four games left. Al Ain travel to Dubai tonight for a meeting with sixth-placed Al Wasl and Baniyas are at home against Al Dhafra, the team in seventh place. Al Ahli, the defending champions host already-relegated Ajman, who have won just one match all season, in tonight's other game.

It will be the first match for Al Ain under Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, their Emirati caretaker coach, who will take charge for the remainder of the season following the sacking of Toninho Cerezo, the Brazilian, after the team's defeat to Pakhtakor in Uzbekistan on last week. "It is a matter of continuing with the work," said al Mishtiki, who was the club's Under 17 coach. "I am thankful for the club management for the faith they have had in me. I know all the players very well and that usually helps. I know my responsibilities having been a player and coach of the club. And I am looking forward to my first game in the Pro League."

apassela@thenational.ae Al Wasl v Al Ain & Baniyas v Al Dhafra, both 6pm, Al Ahli v Ajman, 8.30pm