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Arabian Gulf League: Strugglers' dogged persistence marks 15th round.

Dubai: The persistence of the strugglers and a strong performance from a rejevunated Al Jazira were the highlights of the 15th round of the Arabian Gulf League over the weekend.

Though all three bottom-placed teams added points to their tally, it was Al Jazira's consolidation of their third position that added a special dimension following some valuable additions in the winter transfer window.

Last week's results saw very little change in the overall standings, though, with the top four positions unaltered as Al Ahli led with 33 points despite losing two valuable points against Al Wahda. Al Shabab maintained their grasp on second place with a 2-0 win over Sharjah, who are now tied with 26 points with Al Jazira -- 2-1 winners against Al Wasl in the late-night derby.

There was a minor mid-table juggle, with Al Dhafra easing into fifth place following their home draw with Bani Yas while Al Ain climbed one place despite being held to a goalless draw by strugglers Ajman on Saturday.

The biggest loser this week is Al Nasr as they rolled down by two spots into seventh place after being humbled by Al Shb 2-0. Al Wahda, Bani Yas and Al Wasl are in eighth, ninth and 10th positions respectively -- the first two due to their drawn encounters against Al Ahli and Al Dhafra.

Things are looking interesting at the lower end of the 14-team table despite all four strugglers managing to take points over the weekend. The best result by far was when Al Shb scored on either side of half-time to stun Al Nasr 2-0 to move from the cellar into 12th place. That leaves Ajman at the bottom with eight points after they fought to a deserved goalless draw against defending champions Al Ain.

Dubai and Emirates shared the points late on Friday but still remain in relegation zone with nine and 12 points respectively.

The performances of the weekend were best summed up by Al Ahli's assistant coach Raducan Catalin: "We are not scared of the big teams as we are convinced the players will respond 100 per cent in these games. What we have to be scared about is how we tackle the smaller teams as they are the ones who are going to be fighting hard for survival."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 20, 2014
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