Shabab Al Ahli players attend a training session.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Shabab Al Ahli will bid to keep their domestic double hopes alive with a victory over Bani Yas in a quarter-final of the President Cup on Friday. Defending Champions Shabab Al Ahli are on course for a domestic double as they are just three wins away from the successful defence of the President Cup title and sitting on the top of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) with 36 points – a five-point lead over second place Al Ain.
In the other quarter-final on Friday, Al Dhafra will meet Al Jazira at Nadia Stadium in an 8:30 kick-off.
Shabab Al Ahli coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena exuded confidence in his team and vowed to emerge winners.
“We will try our level best and try to come on the top against Bani Yas to book a berth in the semi-finals,” said Arruabarrena.
He elaborated: “All the players realise the importance of defending the title of this championship that the team achieved last season. The technical staff prepared the team well for the match, and they know that we are up against a strong opponent. Their coach has a great experience,” he added.
Shabab Al Ahli player Lovanor said: “All my team-mates are ready to snatch victory and qualify for the semi-finals and continue the journey to defend the title. Playing in a cup differs from the league where we must be ready for all scenarios.”
Meanwhile, Bani Yas coach Winfried Schäfer said he is wary of Shabab Al Ahli challenge and described the game as an important one.
“We know how important the match is and realise its difficulty. We must enter with a high concentration and be united with each other in order to win and qualify for the semi-finals,” said Schafer.
The coach added: “When we look at Shabab Al Ahli squad, we see a very strong team and high-profile players. We must not give them any chance and commit errors from places close to our goal. Because they have Kartabia and he is good at dealing with free kicks and penalties.”
Captain Fawaz Awana said that he aspires with his teammates to grab the victory and qualify for the semi-finals in order to compete for the most expensive championship title of the country.
Awana said: “To qualify for the next stage requires double work and a strong and balanced performance against a strong team, who are also seeking to continue their momentum in the championship and defend their title achieved last season.”
Elsewhere, Al Dhafra Club’s Serbian Vuk Razovic said that his team is more ready to return all the injured players in the squad to face Al Jazira. Tomorrow’s game is very important for Al Dhafra Club, who aspire to repeat what they did last season when they qualified for the final.
Razovic called on his players to be cautious and focused throughout the 90 minutes against a dangerous Al Jazira and not to make mistakes.
He exuded confidence in the ability of the players, who can achieve a positive result that delights the fans and the club.
Al Dhafra player, Imran Al Jassasi said his team-mates pledged to give everything in order to achieve a positive result and to continue their winning momentum that they got especially in the Arab Gulf League competition.
Jassassi called on the fans of Al Dhafra to be on the field during the match and encourage the players to win and qualify for the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Al Jazira club coach Marcel Kaiser revealed his team’s readiness for the match, stressing that the preparations started from about two weeks ago through daily exercises that witnessed the participation of all players.
Kaiser stressed that the match will be difficult, but he is confident of his players’ ability to win, snatch the victory to qualify for the most expensive championship final.
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