The Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The stadium is mainly used for hosting cricket and football matches. It serves as the home stadium for the Al Jazira Football Club.
The stadium is named after the current Crown Prince, HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and has a capacity of 42,056 seats.
The stadium was opened in 1979-80, under the name of Al Jazira Stadium. It had an original capacity of 15,000 seats then. The stadium was renovated during 2006-2009 and was renamed as Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium. The playing surface is made of grass.
The remodelled design of the stadium was made by Roger Taillibert in 2000 and the reconstruction was carried out by AFL Architects. The stadium is considered as one of the most ambitious projects in the region and is known throughout the world for its unique design.
The Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium hosted eight matches during the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship held in the UAE, including a semi-final and a couple of quarter finals. The semi-final match, played on 15th December was held between arch rivals Brazil and Argentina. Brazil won the game by a solitary goal scored by Dudu in the 65th minute.
On 30th January 2007, the stadium hosted the final of the 18th Gulf Cup of Nations. The final was contested between the home side, UAE and Kuwait. UAE won the game 1-0, with the winning goal coming from Ismail Matar, who also finished the tournament as the top scorer. This was the first major game hosted by the stadium since reconstruction.
When the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup was held in UAE, the stadium hosted three games including the semi-final between Pohang Steelers and Estudiantes. Estudiantes won the game 2-1 with Leandro Benitez scoring a brace for El Pincha.
The FIFA Club World Cup returned to UAE the following year and Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium was allocated three games for hosting.
The UAE national football association was fined Dh25,420 for crowd trouble during a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying game between UAE and North Korea. The home fans threw water bottles and rubbish onto the pitch after An Choi-hyo scored his team’s second goal to inflict a 2-1 defeat to the home side.
During the trouble, one of the assistant referees and Korean keeper Ri Myong-guk had to dodge water bottles and juice containers filled with water. Supporters calmed down after the police intervened and UAE players directly appealed to the crowd.
However, the situation turned the same after the final whistle was blown. Afterwards, talks were held between stadium managers and Abu Dhabi Police following which fans were banned from taking drinks into the stands during the next World Cup qualifier held three days later.
On 26th September 2017, Al Hilal played the first leg of their 2017 AFC Champions League semi-final against Persepolis at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium. Al Hilal won by a resounding 4-0 margin. Omar Khribin scored a hattrick for the winners.
Persepolis played another away leg match of the AFC Champions League two weeks before their semi-final encounter with Al Hilal. They had beaten Al Ahli 3-1 to set up the semi-final encounter. Ali Alipour, Godwin Mensah and Mehdi Tarami scored for the Iranian side.