Al Jazira eye second win as Sharjah aim to bounce back - GulfToday

Al Jazira eye second win as Sharjah aim to bounce back

Al Jazira eye second win as Sharjah aim to bounce back

Shabab Al Ahli players attend a training session ahead of their Arabian Gulf Cup match against Al Jazira.

Head coach Jurgen Streppel has backed Al Jazira’s youngsters to show their quality when they face Shabab Al Ahli in the Arabian Gulf Cup.

Three games are set to take place on Saturday as Al Wahda face Sharjah, Khor Fakkan play with Al Nasr and Shabab Al Ahli clash with Al Jazira.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi will be without 12 players for Saturday’s clash in Dubai following their call-ups to the UAE senior and Olympic teams respectively.

But Streppel has no concerns of fielding his youth players and believes Al Jazira have enough strength in depth within the squad to challenge Shabab Al Ahli.

“We don’t mind playing with youngsters at all,” said the Dutchman during the pre-match press conference.

“I always believe that if you are good enough, then you deserve to play and I don’t care about age.

“We will be playing with three youngsters as per the competition rules. There have been some youngsters that have been training with us this week so we will assess their progress and see how they are.

“Al Jazira has a very good academy which produces young quality players and for sure there will be a number of youngsters featuring on Saturday.”

Al Jazira will be hoping to make it two consecutive wins following last week’s victory in the opening round of the competition. However, Streppel is fully aware of the threat posed by reigning Arabian Gulf Cup holders Shabab Al Ahli.

“We know we have a lot of players missing but we have full confidence we can get a good result after winning the first match,” he said.

“Shabab Al Ahli are a very good side and it will be a tough game. We will give, as always, 100 per cent and we have enough quality to claim all three points.”

Meanwhile, experienced defender Fares Juma believes there’s no reason why Al Jazira cannot claim another victory.

“The coaching team has done an excellent job in preparing us for this game,” he said.

“It will be a difficult test as we have a number of international players missing but we still have a strong squad.

“We want to play well and win the game and we will give our best to try and make that happen.”

However, after their disappointing cup performance last season, Sharjah started this season’s edition in a similar fashion as they lost 2-0 to Bani Yas to sit at the bottom of the group.  

They’ll face a tough task against Al Wahda who earned an easy 3-1 win over Fujairah last week.

At the same time, Khor Fakkan host Al Nasr at Ittihad Kalba Stadium.

The newly promoted side lost their opening game to Al Jazira 3-1, while Al Nasr earned the biggest win of the campaign so far as they beat Kalba 3-0.

The last game of the round will see Shabab Al Ahli play with Al Jazira. Shabab Al Ahli grabbed a late 2-2 draw with Al Ain in the first game, while Al Jazira overpowered Khor Fakkan 3-1.

Hatta and Al Wasl clash will take place on Monday.

The Cheetahs’ game has been moved forward as they face Sudanese side Al Hilal in the round of 32 of the 2019/20 Mohammed VI Champions Cup. Al Wasl had won the first leg 2-0 at home.

Hatta played out a goalless draw with Ajman in the opening matchweek of the Arabian Gulf Cup, while Al Wasl didn’t take part in the first round.

The clash is set to take place at Hamdan Bin Rashid Stadium and will kick off at 7:15pm.

Al Wasl coach Laurențiu Reghecampf said they are targeting the three points against Hatta. “We’ve an experienced group of players and we’ve to focus and put in a strong performance,” he added.

Hatta coach Christos Kontis said he’s happy with the team’s performance after their draw with Ajman.

The second matchweek is set to be played without the UAE international players who were called up to the national team’s training camp in Bahrain in preparation for Asia’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

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