Sharjah players attend a training session ahead of their AGL match against Hatta.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Sharjah will look to extend their winning streak in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) when they take on Hatta in the first match of the fifth round at the on Thursday.
Defending champions Sharjah are at the top of the table with 12 points from four games with a hundred per cent win record.
Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Anbari predicted a tough match and vowed no leniency against Hatta. While speaking at the pre-match press conference, Anbari said: “We are well prepared for the game although the period is short and we know that it is going to be a difficult match.
He also informed about the return of two frontline players that will boost the team’s confidence.
“We miss the service of Majid Sorour and Saif Rashid who will return in the next game.”
“Hatta are a tough contenders and can surprise any team on a given day. I wish that we can succeed against them and run away with full points. All the players in the side are experienced and know the importance of the match,” he said.
He also ruled out that any team is weak or strong or any match is lesser important than the other.
“There is no easy match in the league. All the matches are tough. You cannot relax against any opponents. All the teams are strong and can beat any opponent a given day,” said the coach.
Anbari instilled a new zeal of life in Sharjah since taking over last year. He guided them to the league title. Sharjah are peaking well under him and are on the six-match winning streak across all the competitions.
After a sluggish start in the Arabian Gulf Cup, a resurgent Sharjah are spiraling upward. After losing two matches, they made a valiant comeback against Ajman to thump them 5-0.
Since then there was no looking back as they defeated Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in Arabian Gulf super Cup and have won their last four matches in the league on a trot. But keeping a low-profile and down to earth approach, Anbari warned his players against complacency.
“The level of Hatta, which is in front of our eyes, obliges us to enter the game with full focus as any let-up can cost us the game. Hatta depends on possession and retention of the ball, which makes our task difficult to attack them,” said the Kings coach.
Sharjah play firebrand football and attack the opponents from the word go. Sharjah’s Hassan Al Saleh also sounded confident and vowed to carry on the winning momentum.
“Our preparations are strong for the match and we take every game in the same manner. All the matches are important.
“I hope the focus will be on the next match and we want a positive result. We want to forget our big win over Al Wasl and shift the focus to next match. Hatta will play with motive of proving their merit and we treat them with respect,” he said.
The other match of the day will be played between Ajman and Al Wahda at the Rashid Bin Saeed Stadium at 6:15pm. Al Wahda coach Manuel Jimenez said: “Focus is on victory in all the games and it will be a great challenge put the campaign back on the winning track.
“The motivation is great for us and there is no time to think about the past. We must focus all efforts to correct the negative image.”
Nicholas Melesi of Al Wahda said: “All the teams may be going through difficult times but the most important thing is to work to overcome these periods and now we have a new opportunity to correct the course
“We have not performed satisfactorily and we have not been lucky too often, but today we have to stand up to correct and overcome mistakes.”
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