Shabab star preaches caution over title talk

Matt Jones - Editor 09:30 27/10/2016
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Shabab has been the surprise package so far this season.

The 27-year-old schemer has four goals in nine games in all competitions since a summer move from Cyprus’ APOEL, helping the Hawks soar to top spot with four wins from four league games.

Fred Rutten’s men put their 100 per cent record on the line against another perfect team in champions Al Ahli Friday, and De Vincenti is not getting too carried away by his new side’s fine start to the season.

“We are not thinking about the title, because it is too early to think about it,” said the Buenos Aires native. “The players are ambitious but we must work hard  to continue to reap the victories and maintain the team’s chances of success.”

De Vincenti will miss the game at Maktoum Bin Rashid al Maktoum Stadium after collecting a third yellow card of the AGL season – his fifth in all competitions – against Emirates Club last time out and admits it will be tough watching the game from the stands.

“I am sorry I will be absent for the derby and I regret receiving a third yellow card in the last game,” he said. “I do not know how I will watch the match from the stands, it ‘s a difficult situation for me. I wish I was participating with my team-mates and could give my best.

“My absence will be a hard lesson for me and it makes me review my behavior in the future in order to avoid further bans.

“I have great confidence in the ability of my colleagues though to put in a strong performance against Al Ahli, I urge them to work hard to achieve a positive outcome to ensure our successful march at the beginning of the season and keep Al Shabab at the top of the table.”

Red Knights supremo Cosmin Olaroiu, meanwhile, has leapt to the defence of reigning Asia Player of the Year Ahmed Khalil after his lack of appearances so far this season.

The 25-year-old striker has only played four games in all competitions, though he has bagged two goals.

He has played in four World Cup 2018 qualifiers for the UAE too, although he has been nursing a minor injury, but the Romanian rubbished suggestions the frontman is in decline.

“I do not see any decline in the level of Ahmed Khalil,” said Olaroiu, who left his striker out of the 4-1 thrashing of Dibba Al Fujairah on Saturday. “He has complained of a muscle stretch but insisted on playing for his country and after the Saudi Arabia game his condition escalated.

“We preferred not to risk him against Dibba but this is not an example of his falling level.”

Olaroiu is expecting a tough game against the Hawks, but claims that is nothing new.

“It is always, as usual, a tough match against a tough team,” he said. “They have four wins in the league and they are doing well in the Arabian Gulf Cup so we expect a strong game. It is essential that we play well.”

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