Red-hot Sharjah wary of Kalba as Al Dhafra face Bani Yas - GulfToday

Red-hot Sharjah wary of Kalba as Al Dhafra face Bani Yas

Red-hot Sharjah wary of Kalba  as Al Dhafra face Bani Yas

Sharjah players attend a training session ahead of their match.

Sharjah will bid to extend their winning streak when they take on Ittihad Kalba in their second match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Thursday.

In the other matches on Thursday, Al Dhafra will meet Bani Yas at the Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Stadium in the 6:30 kick-off while Ajman face Al Nasr at Rashid Bin Saeed Stadium at 9:15.

Sharjah are in stupendous form since last season when they won the AGL title, losing just one game in the whole season.

Though they had a faltering start in the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC) as they lost their two opening matches before bouncing back against Ajman with a 5-0 drubbing.

Victory against Ajman seems to have put their stuttering campaign back on track as they defeated Shabab Al Ahli Dubai on penalties to claim the Arabian Gulf Super Cup before starting their AGL campaign with a victory against Khorfakkan.

Despite clinching three wins on the trot from as many games, Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari warned his team to be wary of Kalba.

“Kalba are a strong team outside and inside its stadium and they have a group of good national and foreign players with a competent technical staff and professional management,” said Anbari.

“I do not think that the loss in the last few minutes to Al Ain will affect the morale of Kalba players in our game.”

Kalba had to face a 3-2 defeat against Al Ain in their opening round match after a tough fight saw both the teams slogging for 90 minutes.

Exuding confidence in his team, Anbari his boys are ready to face any situation and their morale is high after the tough matches.

“Our players have enough experience to deal with all the circumstances after the big games we played last season and this season,” informed Anbari. Sharjah’s star striker Ricardo Gomez, who score a hat-trick in Ajman’s rout to end the skid at the beginning of the campaign, said he was motivated to give his best.

“Goals give motivation and confidence no matter who the opponents are and I know that the next game will be difficult but I enter the game with the mentality of scoring a goal and give the team points.

“We prepare ourselves for every game well. We do the homework on the strength and weaknesses of our opponents. We don’t give them space.

“We are jelling well as a unit and work to find solutions to every problem and try to overcome obstacles expected in the game. We always play to win achieve goal our goal of taking full three points,” he added.

He also praised team-mates Mendez and and Igor for their support and expertise.

“My relationship with Mendez from many years has facilitated my mission in the team. And Igor’s high potential makes any player harmonise with him and understand him quickly and easily.”

He also played down the talk of being the main goal scorer for his team, saying he focuses more on winning games.

“The title of a goal-scorer does not concern me more than winning, but achieving goals is a sign of excellence and I hope to be strong always. I feel the support of the fans. I thank them for their feelings and confidence that they have in me.

“I am yet to reach my best and have been striving hard to get there so that I can help my team in achieving their goals for the delight of our loyal fans,” concluded Gomes.

Meanwhile, Kalba’s Italian coach Fabio Viviani vowed to bounce back against Sharjah, after the loss in the first round against Al Ain.

“This is our second chance to grab our first three points in the league after losing the opening match. Naturally everyone is trying to snatch a win and full three points against champions Sharjah.

“My duty is to prepare my team for the Sharjah match. The team is almost complete with Khalid Shammariq’s continued absence as he is on the national duty while Saeed Al Marashda is nursing a niggling injury.

“We have to continue with the same performance and combat during the next games without them. We’re still at the start of the league,” said Viviani.

“We strive to improve the performance of the team in general including the defence. We focus on all the players that are currently with us and do not think about the past or any player who left the team,” he added.

“All teams are keen to give their best against the champions. My job is to improve team’s performance. Our performance in the last game was good but that is not enough. It is important to get a positive result. We have to earn all three points. In the last match against Al Ain, we showed the real face of the team,” he added.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Related articles