Al Jazira Lock Horns with Qatar’s Al Gharafa

ABU DHABI — UAE Pro-League title contenders Al Jazira take on Qatar champions Al Gharafa in the AFC Champions League at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.



By James Jose

Published: Wed 24 Feb 2010, 12:49 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Oct 2021, 1:07 PM

Al Jazira are locked in an intense battle with city rivals Al Wahda for the UAE Pro-League honours, but they will have to put that aside when they take on the Qatari champions in this Group A fixture, which kicks off their campaign in the AFC Champions League.

Jazira surrendered the lead to Al Wahda on February 15, going down 1-2. It was their first league defeat this season.

But they recovered from that loss and stayed in contention with a solitary goal win over inaugural AFC Champions League winners Al Ain.

Coach Abel Braga will be without the services of defender Rashed Abdulrehman due to injury. Despite that Braga is confident that his side can put up a good show. Braga felt that his side could cope with the pressure of both the UAE Pro-League and the AFC Champions League.

Al Jazira have never won the UAE Pro-League title. “This is a very important match for us. We know it is going to be hard but my job is to try and motivate my team to try and make it to the next round.

“My team is mentally strong and can take the pressure of playing for the UAE League title as well as the AFC Champions League.

We did not have a good campaign last year and we hope we will post our first win this year,” Braga said.

About the opponents, he said: “Gharafa are a strong side. They are an organised team. But we play every game to win and this game will be no different.”

Meanwhile, Al Gharafa top their domestic league and will be tough opponents. Al Gharafa coach Caio Junior was confident ahead of the game and felt he would be pleased if they can take points off Al Jazira.

“Al Jazira are a strong side but we will not change our style of play which is to create chances to score.

“We have a good defence as well. If we get one point, it will be a good result,” Junior said.

Juninho, who won 40 caps for Brazil, will be a prominent feature for Al Gharafa. Juninho is an expert at freekicks and Al Jazira need to be wary of that. He joined Al Gharafa last year after lapping up seven titles with French club Lyon.

Kick-off is at 7.15 p.m

james@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Football