Shabab Al Ahli on Sharjah's coattails

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Shabab Al Ahli on Sharjahs coattails
Action from the Arabian Gulf League match between Al Wasl and Sharjah last week. - Supplied photo

Dubai - Only three points separate the two clubs as they chase the Arabian Gulf League

By James Jose

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Published: Tue 14 May 2019, 9:14 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 May 2019, 11:20 PM

It is getting nervy now. Not too long ago, the Arabian Gulf League had Sharjah written all over it. A red-hot streak of being unbeaten in 23 matches this term meant Abdulaziz Al Anbari's side were the champions-in-waiting.
Not anymore.
Sharjah saw a 11-point lead slashed down to just three and now Shabab Al Ahli are on their coattails with two fixtures left to play out.
Sharjah's first defeat of the season, to Al Wasl, last week, has meant that the title race has been reignited as the penultimate round kicks into gear on the morrow.
And it seems to be getting tougher for Sharjah with them set to face a dangerous Al Wahda side at the Khaled bin Mohamed Stadium, late on Wednesday night.
Three stalemates against Al Ain, Ittihad Kalba and Dibba added to the loss against Al Wasl did enough damage to Sharjah's hopes of a first league title in 23 years and they have it all to do over this week and the next.
But coach Al Anbari was defiant and said it was just an aberration along their path. "We have to put the defeat behind us. We have two important games ahead of us and our focus is on achieving positive results," Al Anbari said in his pre-match briefing.
"I have the confidence and belief in this great group of players. We have to focus a lot more as Al Wahda, who have had some good results recently," added the Emirati.
He also spoke about the team's great run this season. "It was a great achievement by the team to not lose over the 23 games. I can understand the frustration about the previous game but it will not benefit us in anyway and we have to look ahead. We have to be positive and supportive and motivate the players. We always play as a team and that's why I'm optimistic about our ability to achieve what we want from this difficult encounter. I expect everyone to be positive about the team, including the fans, who are our ally. But we now have the presence of Shabab Al Ahli behind us which means we must double our responsibility," he said.
Meanwhile, as always, Shabab Al Ahli coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena wasn't looking no further than the tie against Bani Yas.
"Our focus is on the game against Bani Yas. Sharjah are three points ahead of us and even if we are level on points at the end, Sharjah have the head-to-head advantage. We will look to win our remaining games and finish in a good position," said the Argentine.
james@khaleejtimes.com
 
FIXTURES (10 P.M KICK-OFF):
WEDNESDAY:
Al Ain vs Al Wasl, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium
Sharjah vs Al Wahda, Khaled bin Mohamed Stadium
Al Jazira vs Al Dhafra, Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium
Shabab Al Ahli vs Bani Yas, Shabab Al Ahli Stadium
THURSDAY:
Ittihad Kalba vs Dibba, Kalba Union Sports & Cultural Club Stadium
Ajman vs Emirates, Rashid bin Saeed Stadium
Fujairah vs Al Nasr, Fujairah Stadium



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