Denilson "very happy" with UAE life and improved Wahda form

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Denilson, 27, joined the Clarets from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo last summer and has cut an authorative figure in recent weeks as Javier Aguirre’s men close on the AFC Champions League qualification spots, culminating with Friday’s dominant 1-0 win over Al Nasr.

The former Arsenal midfielder’s family have settled with him in Abu Dhabi and he believed this has been key to his success.

“I am very happy here, my family as well,” said Denilson, who has scored once in 17 league appearances. “This was more important for me as my family, my son and my wife are very happy here. I just focus on my work – that is why I came. It is not about just the life, I have safety here but you have to work.

“I come to work and to enjoy, also. It is an amazing country. You can go to Dubai or stay in Abu Dhabi. You can go anywhere.

“In my work, I just focus 100 per cent and give my best all the time in training and in games.”

The triumph against the Blue Wave was of strategic importance, as they hold third place which is likely to be the last qualification spot to Asia’s elite club competition earned through the league.

Wahda hold a three-point deficit to them in fifth, with Denilson confidently looking ahead to Friday’s daunting trip to second-placed Al Ahli.

He said: “This is a big three points because it is always very hard to play against Al Nasr. It was a very tough game.

“We started well and scored quickly. Mister (coach Aguirre) talked to us before the match and said this game was the most important. We had to focus against Nasr, as if they had won we would have lost so many points to them.

“Now, we have time to think about the next game at Al Ahli.”

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Al Ahli official complains of bias from AGL authorities

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It was a highly controversial match between the two sides.

Second-placed Ahli experienced a chaotic end to Saturday’s 1-0 triumph against Sharjah. They were denied a clear penalty in the 89th minute when centre-back

Abdulla Ahmed scythed down UAE full-back Abdulaziz Sanqour, before Senegal forward Moussa Sow headed in an injury-time winner to spark wild celebrations.

Speaking in the heated aftermath at Sharjah Stadium, Hussein declared his unhappiness at what he had witnessed in the quest to usurp champions Al Ain.

He said: “I think we played a very good game, we dominated from the beginning until the end. Okay, Sharjah had maybe one or two counter-attacks which were dangerous.

“But that is normal, as our team always attacks. In the end, we won the three points by scoring a goal in the last second.

“I think the referee (Ammar Al Juneibi) was the baddest point of the game.

“We are too angry against the referees, because this is not the first game, not the second game or not the third game that they want to direct the trophy to one side. We will not accept this.”

The victory saw the Red Knights restore the two-point gap to the leaders. They had appeared set for a disappointing night, Brazilian forward Ciel striking the crossbar from distance in their only attempt of note prior to the bedlam at the death.

Frustration had already gotten the best of manager Cosmin Olaroiu by the time Al Juneibi decided to wave away Sanqour’s protests for a spot-kick, with the Romanian sent to the stands for the second time in 2016 for dissent following his previous dismissal during the goalless draw at Al Wasl on January 4.

These moments represent the latest chapters in a long-running battle between Olaroiu and the UAE football authorities. This enmity stemmed from his contentious move to the Dubai side from Al Ain in July 2013, for which he served three months of a six-month touchline ban.

“It is always like this,” Hussein said. “He gets nervous because of the referees’ mistakes.

“We should have received a clear penalty (against Sharjah). In the last game (a 1-0 win against Al Wasl), also we should have had two penalties. At Al Dhafra, they scored against us (in a 2-2 draw) with a clear foul.

“Until when we have to just shut our mouths? No, we have to speak wisely, speak good and they have to listen.”

Hussein declined to comment on whether Ahli planned to consult governing bodies the Pro League Committee or UAE Football Association about their grievances, simply replying: “We will do our procedure.”

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AGL: Bani Yas held by Emirates Club

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Near miss: Royston Drenthe (l).

Bani Yas’ inconsistent Arabian Gulf League campaign continued after they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Emirates Club on Sunday.

The Sky Blues made it seven matches undefeated thanks to defender Yousef Jaber’s 50th minute header. Yet the achievement felt hollow as they missed the chance to close significantly on the Asian qualification spots, remaining in sixth.

The result at Bani Yas Stadium continued the Falcons’ recent upturn, going three matches without defeat after losing the previous nine. They will now look to build on the three-point gap to second-bottom Al Dhafra in the coming weeks.

It could have been more for Paulo Comelli’s men, who went ahead in the 17th minute through Jamal Maroof. The Al Nasr loanee curled in on the counter-attack after Argentine striker Joaquin Larrivey had headed against the base of the post at the other end.

Bani Yas pushed for a leveller and it finally came just after the break, Jaber nodding home on the stretch.

Winger Royston Drenthe then came close to a memorable winner for the hosts, spotting goalkeeper Ali Saqr off his line but his chip from distance was repelled away by diligent defender Helal Saeed.

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