Sharjah eye President’s Cup semis berth - GulfToday

Sharjah eye President’s Cup semis berth

Sharjah soccer

Al Dhafra players attend a practice session ahead of their President’s Cup quarter-final match against Sharjah.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Arabian Gulf League (AGL) champions Sharjah will look to bounce back against Al Dhafra in the mouth-watering quarter-final clash of the President’s Cup on Monday at the Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Club.

The match will kick off at 16:50pm at the Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Club, which will be followed by the other match of the day to be played between Al Wasl and Bani Yas at 19:45pm.

Sharjah’s unbeaten run of nine matches in the league came to an abrupt end when they were stunned by Bani Yas 1-0 on Thursday.

Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari sounded optimistic to return to winning ways with a victory against Al Dhafra in the President’s Cup quarters.

“We are happy to be back on the pitch despite the short preparation period between the two matches. We have another chance to prove our mettle and return to the winning ways to make it to the semi-finals of the most prestigious tournament,’ said Anbari.

“Al Dhafra are playing good football at the moment and giving a tough fight to their opponents. They are playing the best football of the season. But despite the loss to Bani Yas, we also performed well,” he added.

Sharjah’s Brazilian player Igor Coronado vowed to put up a better performance.

“I am not satisfied with the performance that I have been putting up. I am working hard to restore my level, for which I am known.  I am trying hard to get into the rhythm. The kind of performance everyone knows me for and through which I can help the team and my fellow players to move towards achieving our goals,” said Igor.

“Our loss to Bani Yas should motivate us to give the best, as everyone is showing a great desire to successfully overcome loss and delight our hungry fans by winning this championship,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Al Dhafra coach Aleksandar Veselinovic says Sharjah is a strong team with foreigners and local players in their line-up. The Serbian downplayed Sharjah’s loss in their last game against Bani Yas in their tenth round match of the AGL.

He said: “Sharjah are a strong team with all good players, while winning and losing are part of the game,” said Veselinovic.

Regarding the team’s absentees for Monday’s meeting, the coach confirmed; “Khaled Al Darmaki and Amran Al Jassassi will not feature in the playing XI while the Jordanian international Yaseen Al Bakheet will be included in the line-up.”

Al Dhafra player Khaled Butti predicted a tough game against Sharjah but added that they are ready to face any challenge.

“The team is in a good psychological and moral condition after restoring several important players. We are aware of the competitor’s strength and their distinction as one of the strongest teams in the competition,” said Butti.

“We must respect and focus on our game, especially since Sharjah include players who are considered as the best, both foreigners as well as locals,” he added.

“We will work hard to defend our chances of continuing the tournament, which is the most precious in the hearts of all citizens and residents, especially after the different circumstances prevented the team from being crowned during the last two seasons for various reasons, wishing that Al Dhafra would succeed in overcoming the quarter-final obstacle,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, the Competitions Committee of the Football Association held a technical meeting through visual communication technology, with the participation of Ahmed Bin Darwish Al Nuaimi, member of the Board of Directors of the Football Association and Chairman of the Competitions Committee, and the concerned parties from the competition and media departments, referees and the medical committee of the Football Association, and representatives of the eight clubs.

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