Bani Yas enter semis; Al Ain eye last four spot - GulfToday

Bani Yas enter semis; Al Ain eye last four spot


Bani Yas and Shabab Al Ahli players in action during their President’s Cup quarter-final match on Friday.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Bani Yas stunned Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 1-0 in a quarter-final match of the President’s Cup held at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Friday.

Richard Oliveira scored in the 48th minute to help Bani Yas secure ticket for the sem-finals.

Al Ain will look to bounce back from the disappointment of AFC Champions League 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr and book a President’s Cup semi-final berth with victory over Al Wasl.

On Saturday, Ittihad Kalba will meet Sharjah while Al Ain take on Al Wasl in the two quarter-finals of President’s Cup.

Al Ain coach Pedro Emanuel said: “When you lose a match you always look to enter the next game quickly to show your true desire to return to the path of victories again.

“On Saturday, we will face a new challenge in a different competition and we know that is a knockout match and the team that wins, qualifies for the semis-final.

“Al Wasl are a dangerous customer and can beat any team on a given day. So, we will have to be wary of them in order to win the game and qualify for the next stage,” said Emanuel.

“The next game will not be like the previous match, that was played at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. You cannot share the spoils in the knock out matches,” he added.

Al Ain and Sharjah played a draw in the round 16 match of the Arabian Gulf League at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadum. Both the teams took home one point each. With the draw, Al ain moved to the second spot behind leaders Shabab Al Ahli with 31 points.

Emanuel said: “Unlike the last game, in this match both the teams have an equal opportunity to qualify for the semi-finals. Both the teams know it well. In such matches, no team has an upper hand on the other.

“I personally think any team can win and move into the semis. Each team has 50-50 chances of winning. With the final whistle, it will be decided which is a better team.”

Commenting on a question about the lesser time of preparation, compared to Al Wasl, who got more time to prepare themselves, he said: “This is the price that the big clubs pay as they participate in all the competitions. But we work hard to prepare the team as required for each game, and during the last month Al Ain played four matches while Al Wasl played only one game.”

Al Ain had a busy schedule as they defeated Ittihad Kalba in a round 12 match, that was postponed due to their AFC matches then. In addition to that, Al Ain also played an Asian Champions League match against Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, who defeated them 2-1. Whereas Al Wasl played their last only match of the month against Ajman on Feb.7. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

“The team will surely lack the services of a number of players. But, we will pick up the strongest available team and fight until we qualify for the final of the competition.

“And as a coach of the team I do not think that is the best way because we in the last month we had to go through a difficult situation because of the injuries and back-to-back fixtures.

“But players did their best to achieve what they wanted. Those who are injured, responded well to the treatment in the hospital. Those who took to the field in the absence of the injured players, put in double efforts to make up for the absentees and that is why, I believe that we can qualify for the semis,” informed the coach.

On the condition of the injured Yahya Nader, Muhammad Abd Al Rahman and Rayan Yuslim, he said: “This situation is a natural result of playing consecutive games in a short span of time. The players mentioned here are important for the team. But we have the alternative solutions with some names on the list. They can help the team continue a good performance.”

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