Walid Abbas hails resurgence of Al Ahli star Ciel

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Ciel (c) has been superb since returning from injury.

Ciel, 34, has been brought back into the Red Knights fold since lethal striker Lima’s loss to knee surgery in January.

This ended a 16-month stint on the sidelines after a horrific double ankle fracture against Sharjah on the opening day of the 2014/15 Arabian Gulf League season.

The Brazilian forward moved on to nine goals in 16 appearances with a brace during Friday’s President’s Cup quarter-final win against Al Shaab and Abbas – who also played alongside him at Al Shabab – believes his incredible impact is a lesson to all.

The UAE defender, 30, said: “Ciel is a good player and we need him, especially in these kind of games. When you play against a team like Shaab who stay close and are compact, he can make the difference.

“We are happy that he is back. He is a good player and a good example for all the professional and foreign players in the UAE.

“He got a hard injury and now he is back. He is helping the team a lot.”

Ciel's return since January

  • AGL
  • Mins: 938, Starts: 10, Sub: 4, Goals: 6
  • President's Cup
  • Mins: 210, Starts: 2, Sub: 0, Goals: 3

A first top flight and cup double in 31 years appears on for Cosmin Olaroiu’s unstoppable side after they overcame Al Shaab with a 3-1 triumph at Sharjah Stadium.

Fallen giants Al Jazira are up next at Al Ain’s Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, with a spot in May 29’s showpiece up for grabs.

The UAE’s premier cup competition has tormented the Romanian coach since he arrived in Dubai three years ago, losing 1-0 in the 2014 final to former club Al Ain and on penalties to Al Nasr in last year’s showpiece.

Abbas was phlegmatic about his club’s chances in the current edition.

He said: “It is just one game, you can win or lose. Al Ahli lost two finals and we are looking forward to hopefully making the next final.

“We have a good team and hopefully we can do it, Inshallah.”

Friday’s last-eight tie didn’t run true to form. Relegated Shaab looked set for extra time with the score 1-1 until Moussa Sow’s header and Ciel’s controversial injury-time goal sealed Ahli’s passage.

“It was a difficult game,” Abbas said. “We tried to score, but then we received a goal. This made the game more difficult.

“Cup games are always different to the league. We are happy we won this game and we are looking forward to our next game, Inshallah.”

The other semi-final sees mid-table Bani Yas face AGL runners-up Al Ain. The game will be played at Al Jazira’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.

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