Boss Abdulaziz Al Anbari has admitted tension caused by Sharjah’s long wait for Arabian Gulf League glory has heaped on “big pressure”, even though a 3-2 victory against Al Jazira puts the dominant leaders ever closer to an unprecedented unbeaten title success.
Friday’s trio of first-half goals at Khaled bin Mohammed Stadium, of which a third from veteran Mohamed Al Shehhi would prove decisive, helped maintain course for a shock first top-flight triumph since 1995/96.
“Thank God and thank him for the result and our luck against Al Jazira,” said Al Anbari, whose cause was helped by a motivational speech from key midfielder Otabek Shukurov who was seriously injured on Uzbekistan duty during the international break. “We had some difficulties, but we succeeded in exploiting these opportunities and I congratulate my players for both the win and performance.
“There is big pressure in the league due to the fact the team hasn’t won one for many years. This makes us retreat at certain times of the game, and we must be careful not to lose focus in the final minutes.
“Shukurov is a difficult player to compensate for, despite our exit from the Arabian Gulf Cup. But we came out of it positively.”
In the opposite camp, frustration abounded. Jazira conceded two penalties within the first 10 minutes and could not build on ex-UAE centre-back Fares Juma’s 53rd-minute strike to make it 3-2.
“We dominated the game with possession and kept Sharjah’s attackers, who are very skilful, relatively quiet,” said coach Damien Hertog. “We knew we had to be at the top of our game against Sharjah and we were as a team as I cannot fault the efforts of the team performance.
“But am sure the players will learn from their mistakes in time for the next game.”
Sharjah next travel to Ajman on Thursday, while Jazira host second-placed Al Ain on Wednesday.
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