Yousef emphasises desire for trophies

Matt Jones 9/10/2016
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Yaqoub Yousef.

The capital city giants go into their Arabian Gulf Cup Group A trip to Emirates Club Monday unbeaten in five games this season and with five points from their opening two AG Cup games.

And tenacious midfielder Yousef insists he is keen to win more silverware this season after lifting the President’s Cup with Jazira in May.

“I have played for Al Wahda, Al Ain and Al Jazira and there are no differences between these clubs, which have the same ambition and desire for success,” said the 29-year-old.

“Last season, we won the President’s Cup, a tournament that I was missing on a personal level, and my ambition now is to win the league, the Arabian Gulf Cup and get to the advanced stages of the AFC Champions League with Al Jazira.”

Jazira go to a Falcons side who will be in good spirits after rescuing a 2-2 draw last time out at Al Wahda. They scored twice in the final five minutes in that match.

Elsewhere, two of the form sides in Group B clash as Al Ahli visit Dibba Al Fujairah.

Both clubs have two wins and will be looking for a third that could go some way to helping them secure passage to the semi-finals.

Young striker Saeed Ahmed should feature for the visitors to Fujairah Stadium after playing in all four cup games so far, and the 22-year-old is grateful to coach Cosmin Olaroiu for the chance to play in the competition.

“I want to thank the coach for giving us this opportunity in the absence of the first team players,” he said. “The opponents will be strong, and we are ready to fully show that we can achieve the result that will help us to qualify for the semi-final. We have to do everything we can and fight for the three points because they are important to the team.”

Elsewhere, Al Ain go to table-topping Al Shabab needing a result. Zlatko Dalic’s men have lost two of their three games so far and anything other than a win in Dubai would likely eliminate them.

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Sharjah will not take winless Wahda for granted

Matt Jones 9/10/2016
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Sharjah boss Giorgos Donis.

The Clarets have just two points following two defeats and two draws in Group A and have next to no hope of progress. They were 2-0 up against Emirates Club in their last game before the Falcons scored two goals inside the final five minutes to snatch an unlikely draw.

The King, meanwhile, sit in second, but Donis is expecting a fight from a talented Wahda team.

“We expect a tough match from Al Wahda, they have a good group of players, especially young and foreign players,” said the 46-year-old Greek. “I know they’re far away from climbing into the next stage of the cup, but I expect a very tough match from their side.

“Previous Wahda games will not fool me. I will not deceive myself that the reason they have not achieved a victory so far is down to bad performances.”

As for his own side, he is not setting too many lofty goals. He is just happy to see his team taking shape.

He said: “For me every game is a goal, and we enter every game to fight and give everything we have in the cup and we will continue this way until the end of the group matches.

Wahda’s Mexican coach Aguirre insists that his team have not played badly this season.

“We need a morale-boosting victory,” said the former Mexico and Japan manager. “We need to achieve victory in the next game even though our chances of competing in the future of the tournament is complicated. The team is playing well in most previous games, without a win. I hope that all the players will be fully focused to achieve that this time.”

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Al Wasl boss calls for focus

Matt Jones 9/10/2016
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Wasl have made a fine start to the season.

A 3-1 defeat on opening night in the Arabian Gulf League to Al Jazira is the only blot on an otherwise flying start to life in charge of the Cheetahs for the Argentine, but he is demanding more from his players.

“In the previous matches we had good moments and we made some mistakes as well,” said the ex-Boca Juniors coach.

“We need to correct these mistakes to be able to keep the good results.”

Wasl sit top of the Arabian Gulf Cup Group A following three wins and a draw and welcome Al Dhafra to Zabeel Stadium on Sunday night.

The Western Knights were brushed aside 4-1 in the league encounter at the same venue last month, but Arruabarrena insists this will be a different match against Mohamed Kwid’s visitors.

“Regardless of any opinions we need to keep working and improving,” he added.

“Those who are saying good things about the team today might say not very good things later. What matters is what we are doing on the field. And to reach the final we need to improve our performances.”

The Cheetahs clawed a 2-2 draw in their last AG Cup encounter against Jazira, taking the lead through Caio Canedo before Fabio De Lima equalised after Khalfan Mubarak and Thiago Neves had put the Pride of Abu Dhabi 2-1 ahead.

Dhafra boss Kwid, meanwhile, believes his side are nearly at the same level as Jazira and Wasl.

“The first group of the league is a foggy one and after that there’s no big gap between Al Dhafra and Al Jazira, Sharjah and Al Wasl. We are nearly as good as each other,” he said.

The affable Kwid knows the Western Knights will have to keep De Lima and Caio in check after the deadly Brazilian duo scored three goals between them in the 4-1 league defeat.

“Al Wasl’s key players are well known to me, the team depend on the strong attack of their foreign players such as De Lima, Caio and (Helder) Barbosa,” he added.

“I am asking my players to put great pressure upon them and isolate them in order to achieve a good result.”

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