Rodolfo Arruabarrena is not giving up hope of winning the Arabian Gulf League title, although he insists Al Wasl can’t afford another insipid performance like Friday’s 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Ittihad Kalba.
The Cheetahs threatened to run away with the points early on as they peppered the visitors’ goal, but Goran Tufegdzic’s side grew into the game and arguably had enough chances to take all three points rather than the one the draw earned them.
Former Al Ahli striker Ciel was guilty of wasting two glorious chances at Zabeel Stadium, while a crucial last-ditch block by captain Waheed Ismail in the final minutes prevented Bakary Kone from netting a winner.
“There were moments I liked my team and moments I didn’t like my team. We made too many mistakes defensively,” said Arruabarrena bluntly.
“When we are playing these teams from the middle to the bottom we have to show why we are on the top, and today we didn’t show that.”
Although Wasl are unbeaten in their last five league games, the gap to runaway AGL leaders Al Jazira is 10 points. The Argentine though is not giving up hope of bringing a first league title to the Bur Dubai club in a decade.
“Yes, we still have hope that we can win the title,” said Arruabarrena, a former left-back who won six caps for La Albiceleste from 1994-2006.
“If you look at the points to play for you can see we still have a chance. I think that the goal difference to Al Jazira is too big, but there are some points to make up. The good thing is that we are close to the other teams. We have seven matches left so 21 points to play for.
“It is true Al Jazira is strong and have played well, so they have a big difference, but we have to carry on working. There are still lots of points for each team and some games against each other.”
Wasl travel to reigning champions Ahli, a point above them, and welcome Al Ain, who they are level on 40 points with, in April, and the 41-year-old ex-Boca Juniors coach is refusing to throw in the towel.
He said: “We have to work and I don’t say that it is over. After we will see at the end who will finish first, second, third and fourth.
“If we have the same problems we had in defence today again, it will be very difficult to win with that. We will have a rest then Sunday we start thinking about Bani Yas, which will be very difficult.”