Argentine Prediger replaces Marcelinho at Bani Yas

Denzil Pinto 16/01/2014
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Prediger (l) has played under Maradona for Argentina

Bani Yas completed the signing of midfielder Sebastian Leonardo Prediger on Wednesday for a six-month deal from Argentine Premier Division Club Atletico Colon.

The undisclosed deal will see Prediger, who was unveiled on Wednesday, replacing South American Marcelinho. The club will have an option to renew the contract, due to conclude at the end of the season for a further two years. 

Prediger, who represented Argentina once in their 3-1 win over Panama when legend Diego Maradona was in charge in May 2009, started his career in his homeland before loan moves to local club Atletico Uruguay and Colombia’s Millonarios.

His big move came in 2009 when Portuguese giants FC Porto beat Netherland’s Ajax Amersterdam to obtaining the Argentine’s services.

However, he failed to live up to expectations and was loaned out to Boca Juniors in January 2010.

Pre-diger has also played for Brazilian club Cruzeiro Esporte. Meanwhile, a club official confirmed to Sport360° that ‘some clubs from Dubai’ have registered their interest in Brazilian Marcelinho, who is still training with the club.

It is unclear whether Marcelinho will receive a contract extension, which expires at the end of the season.

Bani Yas are currently in ninth place in the Arabian Gulf League with 20 points. After crushing bottom-side Ajman 4-1 last Thursday, Jorge Da Silva’s side travel to Al Dhafra on Friday

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Quique wants Cup win to spark title charge for Al Ain

Denzil Pinto 15/01/2014
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Happy to win at last: Asamoah Gyan celebrates with team-mates after the penalty shoot-out win over Al Wasl

Al Ain coach Quique Sanchez Flores hopes the thrilling penalty shoot-out win in the President’s Cup quarter-finals over Al Wasl will boost his players’ confidence as they try to resurrect their title challenge in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) starting with a victory at Ajman on Saturday.

The defending champions are 10 points behind leaders Al Ahli after a goalless draw at home to second-placed Al Shabab in their last AGL match.

It’s been a tough five months for Quique, who replaced Jorge Fossati in September. His side has only won six matches from 14 games and are placed seventh in AGL this season.

But the Spaniard will be happy by the manner with which his players came back from 2-0 down to win 9-8 on penalties after the game had ended 2-2 in extra-time on Monday night.

Quique appeared visibly relieved at being on the winning side and even shook hands with each journalist after the match.

Quique said: “It was another great comeback for us when we were two goals down. It takes a lot of character from the players and they showed what they are made of on the night.

“The players worked very hard and they needed something like this and it’s important that the players take this confidence forward now.

“This competition is very important for Al Ain. We have not won this tournament for a long time so reaching the semi-finals is good news for the club.” The Spaniard said it will be difficult to select his team if each player performs to the best of their ability.

The former Atletico Madrid coach said: “It’s very difficult for players when the opponents have 11 players on their side closing down each player.

“The most important thing for me is that players are wanting to get into the team. It’s difficult for me to select, but it’s good if my players are playing well to get selected.”

Meanwhile, Al Wasl coach Hector Cuper said he will now turn his focus to his side’s next AGL match against Al Jazira at Zabeel Stadium on Saturday.

The quarter-final loss capped a miserable week for Al Wasl, after Cuper and his players endured off-field problems with the entire board resigning a day after their 2-0 defeat to Sharjah in the AGL on Thursday. Thursday’s defeat was their third in a row in the AGL and they are now sitting in 10th position with 17 points.

“My target is always to win matches. The league (AGL) is very hard to win now because we are very far from the top position. But my target right now is to win the next match starting with Al Jazira,” said former Valencia coach Cuper, who looked disappointed after the match.

Following the Al Jazira match, Al Wasl will face their second straight AGL match at home to bottom-side Al Shaab on January 24 with only 10 points separating the two sides

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Al Jazira beat Fulham & Napoli to signing of Anzhi midfielder

Kenny Laurie 14/01/2014
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New recruit: Midfielder Jucilei replaces former captain Oliveira.

Al Jazira have announced the signing of Brazilian international Jucilei Da Silva – after releasing former captain Ricardo Oliveira.

The 25-year-old midfielder joins from Russian side Anzhi with Jazira claiming to have beaten Premier League side Fulham and Italian giants Napoli to his signature.

The Brazilian international, who has been capped twice, says he comes with a knowledge of the club and a hunger for silverware.

“I come here with great ambitions and motivation to help win local and regional trophies,” said the 25-year-old. “I didn’t hesitate and accepted the offer directly.

“The club has become a global favourite for the best players and coaches in the world and that is why I am here.

“I had heard from fellow Brazilians about UAE football and Al Jazira and I have a good knowledge with both.

“I want to make myself available as soon as possible so I can help the team.”

The move brings to an end Oliveira’s tenure with the club after having been at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium since 2009.

The former AC Milan player led the club to the league title back in 2011.

Striker Nelson Valdez’s future with the club is still in doubt with Al Jazira being linked with former Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo, who is currently at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Elsewhere, Mariano Donda has said he plans to see out his contract at Al Wasl despite rumours that he is leaving this week for a loan move to Ajman.

The Argentine could still leave the club this January but says that any move will come from the club, not from him.

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