Jazira aim to finish on a high

Having secured their passage to the last 16 for the very first time, Al Jazira will be training their guns to finish as group toppers in the AFC Champions League.



By James Jose

Published: Thu 3 May 2012, 1:19 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:57 PM

Al Jazira’s kick-off time in their game at home against Uzbekistan side Nasaf is 7.45pm, while Bani Yas who play away to bottom-placed Al Arabi of Qatar start their fixture at 7pm.

The Abu Dhabi club host Uzbekistan side Nasaf in a Group A fixture of the premier Asian club competition at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium tonight and victory over the bottom-placed Uzbek club will ensure they finish as group leaders and confirm an home game in the Round of 16.

Al Jazira have 10 points from four games, having won three and drawn one.

The draw against Iran’s Esteghlal confirmed Al Jazira’s qualification to the last 16.

Al Jazira began their campaign with a comeback win over Nasaf under former coach Frank Vercauteren. Vercauteren was fired after that and Caio Junior took over the helm. Al Jazira went on to defeat Qatar’s Al Rayyan at home before securing a crucial victory away to Esteghlal. Al Rayyan are second on the table and are away to third-placed Esteghlal on the same night and even a draw would suffice for Al Jazira if Al Rayyan fail to defeat Esteghlal.

Al Jazira are coming off a mixed week where they successfully defended the prestigious President’s Cup by defeating Bani Yas.

But they fired a blank in the Derby against Al Ain to relinquish the UAE Pro-League title to the Garden City club. With three more games left, Al Jazira dropped to third in the table, 11 points adrift of Al Ain.

Al Jazira have made no secret of their ambition, which is to makea mark in Asia and they are well on the road to achieving that.

Al Jazira have plundered 10 goals in four games, which makes the second highest scoring side in the competition, behind Iran’s Piroozi Athletic.

Brazilian hitman Ricardo Oliveira has fired three off those goals, while his compatriot Bare, Abdulla Mousa and Juma Abdulla have scored two each.

Al Jazira will have to tread a cautious line though with a number of players carrying a booking. Seven players—goalkeeper Ali Khaseif, defenders Juma Abdulla and Abdulla Mousa, midfielders Matias Delgado, Ali Abbas and Yaser Matar and forward Abdulla Qasem, have a yellow card against their name.

Meanwhile, another Abu Dhabi club Bani Yas are away to bottom-placed Al Arabi of Qatar at the Grand Hamad Stadium. Bani Yas, who are third in Group B, had their only win from four games, come against Al Arabi.

They have drawn two and lost one. Group toppers Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia are away to Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor and Bani Yas are still in with a chance to qualify if they win and second-placed Pakhtakor lose.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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