Coach Cosmin Olaroiu has sternly rejected reports he has agreed to swap Al Ahli for Al Ahli Jeddah, ahead of Saturday’s likely loss of the Arabian Gulf League title.
The ex-Al Hilal supremo has been linked with a return to Saudi Arabia as Christian Gross’ replacement. Such a move would see the 47-year-old prematurely call time on a trophy-laden four-year spell at Rashid Stadium, following a season stained by institutional tumult.
“They are just rumours,” said Olaroiu, whose side must beat Sharjah and hope runaway leaders Al Jazira slip-up at Hatta. “I respect my contract with Al Ahli, which expires at the end of next season.”
Meanwhile, Al Ain boss Zoran Mamic has urged his stars to keep pushing for the top-three and 2018 AFC Champions League qualification when they welcome Al Wahda.
The Boss – who roared into the 2017 edition’s round of 16 with a 3-0 midweek win at Iran’ Zob Ahan – trail Al Wasl by two points following the previous humiliating 4-3 reversal against them when three-goals up.
“We are concentrating on the game versus Al Wahda and are fighting for third,” said Mamic, who will be without banned 2016 AFC Player of the Year Omar Abdulrahman. “We need all nine points left.”
Elsewhere, Ajman have gone up as First Division League champions thanks to their quickfire fightback against Masfut and promoted Dubai CSC’s shock loss to second-bottom Al Arabi.
A 2-0 loss to Dubai had demoted the Orange Brigade into second for Thursday’s final round. Their hopes of gaining a second FDL crown in six years appeared bleak when French forward Fatrie Sakhi stormed through, only for low efforts from Moroccan winger Reda Hajhouj and veteran Brazilian Luiz Henrique to turn it around.
Dubai head into the Arabian Gulf League as runners-up courtesy of forward Abdulla Al Kaabi’s solitary effort for Arabi.
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