Semis berths up for grabs as AGC quarter-finals get under way today - GulfToday

Semis berths up for grabs as AGC quarter-finals get under way today


Al Nasr players attend a training session ahead of their Arabian Gulf Cup quarter-final match.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

The stage is set for a blockbuster knock-out round as the Arabian Gulf Cup quarter-finals get under way on Friday.

All the eight teams, who made it to the quarters, will look to book their berth in the semi-finals and inch closer to the prestigious title.

Shabab Al Ahli face Al Wasl, Al Ain meet Sharjah, Al Nasr take on Fujairah and Al Wahda will lock horns with Al Jazira.

Shabab Al Ahli coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena is wary of their opponents Al Wasl and vowed to give their 100 per cent in the match.

“We are ready to play Al Wasl in the quarter-finals and we know very well the importance and difficulty of the game, especially as it combines two big teams and their games are always strong and exciting, and we have to fight hard to qualify for the semi-finals,” said Arruabarrena.

“We have taken advantage of the break in the preparation for the upcoming games, especially as the team awaits several important clashes during the month across various local competitions.

Talking about the absentees and injuries in the team, he said: “The internationals will join the team today and the rest of the players are in full physical fitness and are raring to go.

Those who are injured, and decision about their inclusion will be taken after they pass fitness test.”

Shabab Al Ahli player Eid Khamis revealed that he participated for the first time with the first team in the match against Khorfakkan and got to learn a lot from the senior players.

“I got the chance to play for the first time with the senior team and it was an amazing experience.

“My ambition is to continue to keep appearing with the big players and benefit from their experience. I am diligent in training until he gets the opportunity to participate.

“The game against Al Wasl is very important, and as players we are keen to offer everything we have in order to win and qualify for the next stage,” he added. Al Nasr’s Croatian coach Krunoslav Jurčić exuded confidence and said they are ready to take on any team.

“We have a strong team, which is capable of competing against the big ones. We will look to achieve appositive result. We played a nice game against Al Dhafra and we managed to qualify after a remarkable performance by the team,’’ Kroneslav said.

“Yesterday, I had a meeting with the players and the coaching staff, and I told them that we are a real and professional team now.

“Because when a team play a difficult game away from home without their manager, and they win, it needs a great performance.

“It shows how professional the players are and their knowledge and how they shoulder their responsibilities,” he added.

He made his intentions clear and vowed to play for a victory.

“We want to win against Fujairah to qualify for the semi-finals because we aspire to win this tournament, ‘’ he said.

Meanwhile, Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari rued the absence of the top players for the game but said they would look to come out with a positive result.

“The preparations are good and we wish to make a good level and we will miss services of Gomez, Marco, Saif Rashid, and Hassan Saleh in the match. Igor also has a minor injury and we will consider the possibility of his participation tomorrow,” said Anbari. He also said the break from the league was very helpful for the preparation of the upcoming matches.

“The break was helpful despite the good rhythm of the team before the league stopped. I know Al Ain team and I know they are champions and we will try to beat them,” concluded the Emirati coach.

Sharjah’s foreign import Rafael Resende also vowed to give his best and seal a spot in semis.

“I haven’t played many games yet but I try to convince the coach through for every single minute I am on the pitch.”

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