Al Jazira players attend a training session ahead of their match against Fujairah. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer was full of adulation for his players ahead of their 21st round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) against Fujairah on Monday.
Keizer insisted that his players deserve all the praise for making the team the strongest side in the league in both defence and attack.
Playing in a balanced manner and responsibilities as a unit is the reason behind the positive results and stellar performances of Al Jazira.
“Scoring 49 goals in 20 matches is not easy in this league. And let’s not forget that we also conceded the fewest goals, alongside Bani Yas, which means that we are attacking and defending as a team with the same intensity and discipline.
“And my players deserve all the praise for these positive numbers and good performances. Preparing for this season was not easy at all, considering the strange circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic, but the team did very well, and I am happy and proud of every single one of them,” said Keizer.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi are at the summit with 44 points and looking to consolidate their position as the top contenders for the title.
“I said since day one there is no easy game or any easy opponent in the AGL and nothing has changed since then. Facing a team from the bottom of the table or a title contender is always the same in terms of difficulty and complexity, so I don’t agree with whoever said Al Jazira’s remaining matches are easy,” stressed the coach.
Al Jazira are facing Fujairah, who are second from the bottom. In their last match they defeated the bottom-placed Hatta, who have notched up only two wins.
“Everyone is fit and ready for Monday’s game, we are working on improving some aspects of our game, especially the performance in the second half, but by and large I am happy with what we are doing at the moment,” said Keizer.
“Fujairah improved a lot recently and they weren’t lucky when they lost important points in the last minutes of their games. They have a creative midfield and strong forwards, but we need to look at ourselves first and keep doing our best without distracting ourselves with anything else,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, in the most important clash of the week, Sharjah will face a stern test against a resilient Shabab Al Ahli, who have exuded a remarkable recovery under the new coach Mahdi Ali.
“Sharjah will come into the match with a high morale after a big victory in their last round match despite being held to two successive draws in their previous two matches.
“We continue to aspire to go upward and strive to improve our performance in every match. The team is in good shape and our style of playing will remain the same. We are likely to make some changes in the line-up depending on the situation and opponent,” said Ali.
“In general, I am satisfied with the performance of the players of late, especially as compared to what I had face at the beginning of my career with the team. But since then things seem to be falling in line. We are playing good football and achieving good results. We could have been in a better position in the league had it not been for the poor start of the team in the tournament,” he added.
Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari predicted a tough match against Shabab Al Ahli. Sharjah have slipped down to the third position in the table owing to a slump in form of late. However, they ended their winless run with a victory in the last round match.
“This is a very important match for both the teams and will have a bearing on their aspirations towards the title march. We enter with high spirits and great confidence. We are confident of achieving a positive result to live up to our billing,” said Anbari.
Al Ain came from behind to beat Ajman 4-1 in their ninth round match of the Arabian Gulf League |(AGL) at the Rashid Bin Saeed Stadium on Sunday.
At least 11 Al Jazira academy players have signed their first professional contracts since June 2020 to take the initial step in their career and set themselves up for the senior team.
Ali Mabkhout netted a hat-trick to guide Al Jazira to a valuable 4-2 victory over Fujairah at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in matchweek 21 of the Arabian Gulf League. Al Jazira’s Khalifa Alhammadi headed home to break the deadlock on the 10-minute mark.
The 22-year-old paceman suffered a knee injury on the recent tour of Sri Lanka, a worrying setback with the Asia Cup — and a meeting with old rivals India — coming up at the end of the month.
The move is part of an agreement with the Dubai Club for People of Determination, to support and empower the People of Determination in sports.
It was a mature and impressive display from the Emirati driver who has steadily grown in confidence since joining Team Abu Dhabi last season, and now has the look of a genuine world title contender.
British newspapers spoke of humiliation and extermination; Where the newspaper "Daily Star" titled: "Men against boys," and quoted the words of the former star of the team, Gary Neville: "This was extermination," after they conceded 4 goals in 35 minutes.