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Muharraq ready for Arabi clash

BAHRAIN champions Muharraq will be looking to take home advantage today when they face off with main rivals Al Arabi of Kuwait in the last Group 'A' match in the GCC Clubs Soccer Championship.

The match, which takes place at the Muharraq Club Stadium in Arad with 6pm kick off time, will decide which side tops the group and advances to the semi-finals of this annual competition, being organised for the 25th time.

Al Arabi, who beat Muharraq 1-0 in Kuwait, are on top of this three-team group with seven points from three matches and need a draw to qualify.

The 22-member visiting team, who arrived in Bahrain yesterday and with club general secretary Jawad Maqseed heading the delegation, had a practice session at Busaiteen Club in Muharraq last night.

However, the Kuwaitis will head into this game without some of their most influential players, including their international midfielder Mohammed Jarragh who picked up an ankle injury during the domestic league.

Al Arabi will also miss dangerous striker Khalid Abdulquddos, also due to injury, and their skipper Ahmed Mousa who was not included in the squad travelling to Bahrain for failing to join the team's recent training.

Other key players who could not make this crucial trip were rising striker Khalid Khalaf and left back Fahad Al Fardan who were both injured, while Slovenian defender Rock Elesner is also absent to serve a one-match ban after picking up three yellow cards during the competition.

On the other hand, Muharraq are on six points and must win the full three points to go through as group winners.

Under their coach Salman Sharida, Muharraq entered a closed training camp yesterday at Elite Suite Hotel in Sanabis and had their last practice session at the match venue.

The Bahrainis will also be without three prominent internationals -defender Ebrahim Al Meshkhas, midfielder Mahmood Jalal and striker Hussain Ali who all have different injuries.

Meanwhile, Bahrain's other representatives Riffa will also have a tough task tomorrow when they clash with another Kuwaiti side, Kuwait FC, in a no-bearing Group 'D' match in Kuwait.

After their 0-1 home defeat to UAE's Al Wasl two weeks ago which secured the visitors' top spot and ended their chances of reaching the semi-finals, Riffa will be hoping to return with a morale-boosting victory after their recent 0-1 defeat to Al Ahli in the Bahrain First Division League.

The group is being led by Al Wasl, who have a match in hand against Kuwait FC at home, are on seven points. Riffa have four points while Kuwait FC are out of the competition after losing all their matches.



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