Clash of the Abu Dhabi heavyweights

Clash of the Abu Dhabi heavyweights
Ali Mabkhout will play a crucial role for Al Jazira in the final.

Dubai - Al Jazira and Al Wahda to clash for 'The Year of Zayed Arabian Gulf Super Cup'

By James Jose

Published: Fri 19 Jan 2018, 7:51 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 Jan 2018, 9:54 PM

Al Wahda will be looking to add to their two titles while Al Jazira will be hoping for the first when the two Abu Dhabi heavyweights square off in the postponed Arabian Gulf Super Cup, the traditional season-opener, at the Bani Yas Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.

The Super Cup, between the Arabian Gulf League champions and the President's Cup winners was to be played in Egypt on January 4. But owing to the UAE's participation in the Gulf Cup of Nations, the fixture will be played out in the UAE itself.

Al Wahda won it in 2001 and 2011, while Al Jazira are yet to lay their hands on the trophy after finishing second best to Al Ahli (now Shabab Al Ahli) last season and losing on penalties to Al Wahda in 2011.

And Al Wahda talisman Ismail Matar said that they would not be short on motivation to clinch the Cup, which has been renamed 'The Year of Zayed Arabian Gulf Super Cup'.

"It will not be an easy match between these two big teams who are both after the title. Final matches are always different as a draw is never an option. The team that manages the match better will be closer to win, and I hope that is us," said Matar.

"We will give our best to lift Year of Zayed Arabian Gulf Super Cup title to add to our glorious history. I hope fans are present at the Bani Yas Stadium to support the players. Fans are our motivation to fight harder and do all we can. This match is a big challenge and I pray that luck is on our side and we can win," he added.

Meanwhile, Matar's teammate Mourad Batna urged the fans to come through the turnstiles and be their 12th man.

"We expect our fans to be present and support us from inside the stadium. The present of supporters is important for the players, no team can win titles without their fans being on their side," said Batna.

"The Clarets fans were always there for us and their presence gives us a huge confidence boost and adds to our strengths. We will work hard to please our fans with a new success to add to the club's decorated history," added the 27-year-old.

Al Jazira will be without Mohammad Al Attas, Mohammed Fawzi and Zayed Al Ameri owing to injuries but goalkeeper Ali Khaseif, their hero in the Fifa Club World Cup semifinal against Real Madrid, is expected to be back after recuperating from an injury.

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