AFC Champions League: All you need to know about Al Jazira, Mumbai City FC's group stage opponents
Hero Indian Super League outfit Mumbai City FC are going to participate in the upcoming AFC Champions League. The 2020-21 ISL League Winners’ Shield and trophy winners are all set for a tussle with UAE Pro League title-holders Al Jazira on April 14 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in one of their three group matches.
Al Jazira are more experienced than their Indian counterparts when it comes to the AFC Championship League. As this is going to be their fifth appearance in the competition.
Let us take a glance at this Al Jazira side ahead of the big clash.
The club was established as a merger between Khalidiyah and Al Bateen in 1974. In the 1980s and 1990s, the club Al Jazira was not a regular mainstay in the league as they got relegated on multiple occasions. But Al Jazira Club's fortunes changed when Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan invested in the club in the 2000s. Since his purchase, they won their first league title in 2011 and two more league titles in 2017 and 2021.
The three-time league winners also have considerable silverware, as they’ve won UAE’s League Cup, Federation Cup, and Super Cup once each. They’ve also been three-time winners of the UAE President’s Cup tournament. Al Jazira have also been champions of the UAE Division One, which is the second tier of professional football in the UAE, twice.
Form Guide: WWWWD
Al Jazira have won four out of their last five matches and played a 0-0 draw against Al Ain in the semi-final of the Etisalat Cup. Their last win came in Arabian Gulf League, where they had beaten Al-Ittihad Kalba by 3-2 scoreline.
Head to Head
This is the first time Mumbai City FC will be facing Al Jazira in the sport of football.
The former Sporting CP winger has been a revelation under Marcel Keizer, as he has scored 10 times across 24 appearances for the club this season. The quality that makes him dangerous is his versatility across the frontline. Since he can be fielded on both wings and as the spearhead of the attack, he gives an additional headache to oppositions with his continuous interchanging of positions in-game. The 30-year-old had seven goals and three assists to his name in the UAE Pro League this season.
The 31-year old defender is one of the most vital cogs of Marcel Keizer’s side. The Serbian center-back is also responsible for helping his club keep nine clean sheets in the league this season. His efficiency in playing out from the back is also aided by his set-pieces duties. This makes him an all-round contributor to this Al Jazira side. Mumbai City must find a way to get past him. However, they must also look to neutralize his threat when he is in a good offensive position.