Confident Al Ahli ready for Al Jazira challenge

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Confident Al Ahli ready for Al Jazira challenge
Al Ahli's Ciel and Al Shaab's Talal Mubarak vie for the ball during the President's Cup match in Sharjah.

Published: Thu 19 May 2016, 10:47 PM

Last updated: Fri 20 May 2016, 12:50 AM

Today's match: Al Jazira v Al Ahli at Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain Club (7.45pm)
Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli will hope to continue their scintillating form when they clash against Al Jazira in the President's Cup semifinal at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Friday night.
Red Knights manager Cosmin Olaroiu has set his eyes on the double championship.
 On the sidelines of the Arabian Gulf League Awards, when he was asked about his future at the club, the Romanian ducked the query and just said: "Next target is the President's Cup. At the moment nothing else is more important."
 And his boys didn't disappoint as Al Ahli thrashed Al Shaab 3-1 in the quarterfinals at Al Sharjah Stadium.
 Olaroiu will be banking on Moussa Sow, Ahmed Khalil and Ciel to deliver the goods against the Pride of Abu Dhabi.
 Al Jazira are an improving side and their intriguing victory against Al Sharjah in the quarterfinals, though a draining affair, will hold them in good fettle for a semis clash against the AGL champions.
 Henk ten Cate's men made a superb comeback against Al Sharjah in the quarterfinals after being 2-0 down at one stage. Thiago Neves scored a brace to draw level and take the game to extra time.
 Right at the start, Sharjah regained the lead through Wanderley Santos and then Maicosuel Reginaldo made it 4-2.
 Just when the eight-time President's Cup champions were celebrating, in the 104th minute midfielder Sultan Bargash reduced the gap to 4-3. Al Jazira had the rub of the green going their way and an own goal from Mauricio Donezti Ramos made it 4-4.
Enter penalties and they clinched it 6-5 to sneak into the semis.
 The Abu Dhabi club will be wary of the dangerous trio of Ciel, Sow and Khalil.
 This semifinal will be played at high tempo and Al Ahli enjoy the upper hand going into the encounter.
 Olaroiu's tactics and hunger to win the coveted trophy should drive them to the finals. All said, Al Jazira have broken jail once and can do so again.

By Ashwani Kumar

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