Football: Al Jazira face tricky Ajman test

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Football: Al Jazira face tricky Ajman test

They had the most dangerous frontline in the League, plundering 66 goals, four more than Al Ain.

By James Jose

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Published: Fri 15 May 2015, 1:04 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:57 PM

 

Abu Dhabi — TheAl Jazira still have an opportunity to end the season with silverware. — KT file League may have slipped from their grasp, but Al Jazira still have an opportunity to end the season with silverware when they begin their campaign in the prestigious President’s Cup on Thursday night. The ‘Pride of Abu Dhabi’ were in touch with Al Ain but ran out of gas towards the closing stages of the Arabian Gulf League to finish second and nine points behind the champions.

They had the most dangerous frontline in the League, plundering 66 goals, four more than Al Ain. But it was their appalling defence which let them down as they conceded 46 goals. And that would be put to the test by a demoted Ajman at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Ajman have been relegated to First Division football next term, so this presents their last chance to salvage something before they see top flight football for at least another season. And Al Jazira coach Eric Gerets was wary of being caught in the midst of a backlash from ‘The Oranges.’ “It will be a tricky and complicated game. Ajman have been relegated but this is a new competition and they have won it before. Irrespective of their status, we are not going to take them lightly,” said Gerets.

And the Belgian said that the opponents have some good players in their ranks who are capable of causing an upset. He singled out their Moroccan midfielder Driss Fettouhi, who has been exceptional in the League. “They have a very strong player in Driss Fettouhi, who can change a game. Also, they have nothing to lose since they have been relegated. So, I expect that they will play a very offensive game against us. So, we have to be on guard as a loss would be disastrous for us,” he said.

Gerets was disappointed that they could not win the League but was now looking forward to add a third President’s Cup title. “Our goal was to win the League but we stumbled in April and that cost us. But, we at least finished second and we are now looking ahead to the President’s Cup,” Gerets said.

Al Jazira had won back-to-back President’s Cups in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 season. There are fitness concerns for Al Jazira with the League’s top goalscorer Mirko Vucinic down with a niggle. But Gerets confirmed that Montenegro striker will play. Defenders Khalid Sabeel, Basheer Saeed as well as Abdulla Mousa look doubtful.

Meanwhile, Ajman will try to overcome the disappointment of being relegated by looking to add to the title that they had won way back in the 1983-84 season.

james@khaleejtimes.com



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