Al Jazira coach Damien Hertog insists it’s vital his side not only secure three points but produce a performance their fans can be proud of as they look to take a big step towards securing AFC Champions League football next year.
In their final home Arabian Gulf League match of the season, Jazira host Al Dhafra on Wednesday, knowing victory over their Abu Dhabi neighbours will maintain their grip on third position with one game to go and strengthen their chances of getting back to Asia’s premier club competition.
Hertog appreciates the fans’ support throughout the entire season and asserted the Pride of Abu Dhabi faithful deserve to be treated to attractive and attacking football.
“It’s important for everyone in the team to give their best display for the fans and finish the last home match in style,” said Hertog during the pre-match press conference.
“It’s not just three points that we want but making our fans proud by playing excellent football, creating chances and scoring goals for them.
“We have scored the most goals this season and that says something about us as we like to play attacking football. The fans enjoy the way we play and we want to combine this by getting a victory.
Next Match— Al Jazira Club (@AlJazira_uae_EN) 12 May 2019
⚽️ Al Jazira vs. @aldhafraclub_ae
🏆 @AGLeague_EN MatchWeek 25
🏟️ Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium
📅 Wednesday, May 15.
⏱️ Kickoff 22:00, Gates Open 20:00
🎟️ Available at https://t.co/qh0PWlVHQg pic.twitter.com/2cdGoyY7yb
“We know three points will boost our chances of qualifying for the Champions League. That is still in our own hands and we will give our best to maintain our position.”
While long-term absentees Mohamed Jamal and Ahmed Rabea remain ruled out through injury, Hertog could also be without Fares Juma and Salem Al Eidi, who are carrying slight knocks. Top-scorer Ali Mabkhout misses out again through suspension.
Despite having a near full-strength squad, Hertog said his players will not take the Western Knights lightly especially after losing to them earlier in the season.
“I expect a tough game against Al Dhafra,” said the Dutchman. “They beat us before earlier in the season and that gave them a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. They reached the President’s Cup final but I am confident if we can play really well we can beat them.”
Young striker Zayed Al Ameri said he his team-mates are determined to get all three points against Dhafra.
“It’s the last home game of the season and we will give our best to win the match,” said the 22-year-old. “We will try and play to our highest level and give the fans something to celebrate.”
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