Al Ahli set sights on President's Cup

Al Ahli set sights on Presidents Cup
Al Ahli wrapped up the Arabian Gulf League title this week.

By James Jose

Published: Wed 11 May 2016, 8:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 May 2016, 10:42 PM

FIXTURES:
 
THURSDAY:
Al Jazira vs Al Sharjah, Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, 7.40 p.m
Al Ain vs Al Wasl, Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, 7.40 p.m
 
FRIDAY:
Al Ahli vs Al Shaab, Al Sharjah Stadium, 7.35 p.m
Bani Yas vs Emirates, Al Maktoum Stadium, 7.35 p.m
 
 
After wrapping up the Arabian Gulf League, champions Al Ahli now set their sights on a cup double and a record ninth President's Cup.
The Red Knights are tied with Al Sharjah with eight President's Cup titles and if they do manage to go the full distance, an unprecedented ninth is there for the taking. First up though, they have to negotiate a tricky test in Al Shaab in the quarterfinals at the Al Sharjah Stadium on Friday night.
They met in the final League fixture of the season at the Rashid Stadium on Sunday night but those were different circumstances. Having won the League for a seventh time, the pressure was off and the Red Knights played at half the pace than they are normally known for. They were also without Ahmed Khalil, Khamis Ismail and Majed Hassan for that game. Except for the injured Majed Hassan, who has flown to France for a knee surgery, coach Cosmin Olaroiu has a full and fit squad to call upon with Khalil and Ismail set to return to the line-up.
Olaroiu and his opposite number Stefano Cusin had used the fixture to prepare for the quarterfinals. So, this will be a totally different game with a lot more seriousness attached to it.
Al Ahli are indeed strong contenders, having made it to the final in the past three seasons and winning it in the 2012-13 season. They had beaten Al Shabab 4-3 on that occasion. The Red Knights were denied by Al Ain in the 2013-14 season and then went on to lose to Al Nasr last year.
Meanwhile, there are other strong contenders too like Al Ain, Al Wasl, Al Jazira, Al Sharjah, Bani Yas and the Emirates.
After failing to defend their Arabian Gulf League title, Al Ain will be looking to land a piece of silverware on the domestic front. It will be a nice way to sign off the season after they made it to the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League. The six-time President's Cup winners take on Al Wasl at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night.
Al Jazira, who won back-to-back President's Cup titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12 beating Al Wahda and Bani Yas respectively, meet eight-time winners Al Sharjah at the Khalifa bin Zayed Staidum in Al Ain.
Bani Yas, whose only title came in the 1991-92 season, take on 2009-10 winners Emirates at the Al Maktoum Stadium on Friday night. - james@khaleejtimes.com




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