Al Ahli Jeddah vs Al Ahli Dubai
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 22 May 2017
Kick-off: 19:45 CET
Al Ahli did their… duty against Zob Ahan two weeks ago, they beat them 2-0, they qualified for the last 16 of the competition, more difficultly than expected, since that win over the Iranian team was just their third in the group, and second over Zob Ahan, their… best ‘client’ in the group. A few days later they finished the championship in Saudi Arabia sitting second in the table, securing a ticket to next season’s Champions League as well. What was… painful though, was losing the King’s Cup last Thursday, to Al Hilal, the same team that left them second in the championship. That 3-2 defeat to Al Hilal was their first, after four consecutive wins in all competitions. Al Ahli have scored an impressive 12 goals in their last five matches, championship, King’s Cup, and Champions League combined.
On the last day of the group stage, Al Ahli beat Lokomotiv Tashkent 4-0 at home, returning my trust in them, since I had predicted a win of theirs while also keeping a clean sheet, at 3.60. Four days later, they beat Bani Yas as well, 2-1, and finished third in UAE’s championship, earning a ticket to next season’s AFC Champions League. What’s ironic though, is that even if Dubai’s Al Ahli qualifies for the quarterfinals this season, it’s not certain they will be allowed to play. Last Tuesday, by royal decree, Al Ahli, Al Shabab, and Dubai Club, all three were merged into one club, that from now on will be called Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club(!). The problem with their participation in the next stage of this season’s Champions League, is that the regulations of the AFC are rather clear, no name change is allowed while the season is still running. Even their participation in next season’s CL cannot be taken for granted, despite earning a ticket with their third finish in the championship. Complicated…
Al Ahli Jeddah vs Al Ahli Dubai: Head-to-head Stats
Jeddah’s Al Ahli have hosted Dubai’s Al Ahli twice before, drawing 2-2 fifteen years ago, and beating them 2-1 in 2015, in a Champions League group stage match.
Al Ahli Jeddah vs Al Ahli Dubai: Prediction
Jeddah’s Al Ahli have scored an impressive 19 goals in their last eight home matches. Dubai’s Al Ahli have failed to score in just one of their last 13 games away from home. Given that I don’t see a clear favorite, my first idea was to bet on goals, but after taking a better look at the statistics of the hosts, I decided to approach this game in a way I don’t use to, but in this case I’m willing -and eager- to make an exception.
Al Ahli Jeddah vs Al Ahli Dubai: Tips
Over 2.5 goals is at 1.82, which is not bad, but I prefer something over 2.00. As previously mentioned, Jeddah’s Al Ahli have scored 19 goals in their last eight home matches. Only six of those were in the first half, with the other 13 coming in the second half. Picking the second half as the highest scoring one for the hosts, you get to hope for a 2.25 return. I’m going with that, expecting the hosts not to score in the first half, but to do so in the second (or score one in the first, and two in the second half).