Sharjah meet Al Ain in top of the table clash; Shabab Al Ahli face Al Jazira - GulfToday

Sharjah meet Al Ain in top of the table clash; Shabab Al Ahli face Al Jazira

Sharjah meet Al Ain in top of the table clash; Shabab Al Ahli face Al Jazira

Shabah Al Ahli coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena and Brazilian import Leonardo da Assilva pose after a pre-match press conference.

Mohammad Abdullah , Staff Reporter

Sharjah will look to assert their supremacy when they take on Al Ain, who are at the third spot, in the top of the table clash on Thursday.

Leaders Shabab Al Ahli will meet Al Jaizra in another important clash of the day.

Meanwhile in the other two matches, Ittihad Kalba will meet newly-promoted Hatta and Al Nasr play Al Dhafra.

Sharjah and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai continue their dominance in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) carrying on the momentum of the last season with stellar performances.

Shabab Al Ahli, who are at the top of the table, finished second behind Sharjah last season as the battle for the title went down to the wire. But the teams seem to be peaking at the right time to grab the early advantage in the 14-team league.

Sharjah and Shabab Al Ahli both will be in action on day one of the Matchweek Three of the AGL, playing against different opponents simultaneously.

A resurgent Sharjah started their campaign in the manner that suits their billing of being the champions who are yet to be beaten. Coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari exuded the confidence in his team and said they are ready for Al Ain challenge.

“I wish success to both teams but we are well prepared to face any challenge. We are in great form and will look to continue winning momentum against The Boss.”

He also ruled out Saleh Al Hassan and Saif Rashid for the Al Ain match.

“Hassan is serving a suspension and will not feature in the match. Rashid will also not be available as he is nursing a niggling injury. However, we are still not sure of Majid Suroor and will wait for him to be fit before the match,” informed Anbari.

He also warned his players against Al Ain and urged them to not let complacency set in.

“Al Ain are a very good side. They failed to win any silverware last season and could not live up to the expectations of their fans. They will definitely try to come out full throttle and that makes them more dangerous,” he concluded.

Sharjah’s prolific striker Igor Coronado said he was enjoying playing in the UAE and relishing the challenges.

“After coming to the UAE, it took me one full year to get to know the weaknesses and strengths of our teams.

“Al Ain are a fierce opponents and a big team. We know what we have to do and we will fight till the end. It will be a big game.

“We know our responsibilities inside and outside the stadium and enjoy our training with great enthusiasm. We have a strong mentality and enjoy challenges,” said Coronado.

He also attributed teamwork as the biggest reason behind their success.

“Teamwork is what distinguishes us from the other teams. We don’t depend on one or two star players but everyone plays his part and discharges his duties well. And that was the reason for our success last season. “Al Ain have a good offensive and defensive presence. They can be a dangerous proposition on a given day.”

Shabah Al Ahli coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena played down the title talks, saying it was too early to discuss the title.

He also praised Ahmed Khalil and Al Hammadi for motivating Mohamed Gomaa and all other players in the team.

“It is too early to talk about the title. It is just the beginning of the season and the tournament is decided in the last few rounds.

“Now my focus is on working with my team and we take it match by match. I can’t predict the future of the full season. There are clubs which participate in different tournaments and their players play with different teams where they get valuable experience,” said Arruabarrena.

“We lost Majid Hassan, who underwent a ligament surgery recently and will be out for several weeks. We will miss his services as it is a big loss for the first team.”

Commenting on Al Jazira’s recent loss to Al Wahda, he said: “The big teams are trying to perform in different ways. Our team needs to continue to perform well and provide satisfactory results to the fans.”

He also credited his players for the success of his team.

“The players are the key element in the victories and they are real owners of achievements.

He predicted a tough game against Al Jazira.

“The match is difficult and important at the same time. We have been working with confidence in the rounds and our focus is to perform well and return to our stadium with all three match points,” he said.

All the while, Shabab Al Ahli’s Brazilian striker Leonardo da Assilva stressed that the next game against the Al Jazira is an important and a difficult one.

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