x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Al Ahli aim to use President's Cup to reboot their form

Al Ahli are using the President's Cup as a reboot to their season, but Al Wasl are looking to continue carry their top form over from the Pro League to the tournament.

Al Ahli and Al Wasl are each coming off defeats to Al Ain in the Pro League, giving Sunday night's Dubai derby in the President's Cup even more significance.

Quique Sanchez Flores, the Ahli coach, said his team need a fresh start after poor results in the league and the Etisalat Cup.

"The confidence is not at the best at the moment," said the Spaniard. "We have been working on every aspect, both technically and mentally to prepare for this important game.

"We haven't had a good start in the two competitions we have played so far but I hope we can put those results behind us and win this game. It can make all the difference.

"We are up against a strong team and they will also come with the same intention of winning. So, the pressure will be on both teams in this knockout format of the competition."

Ahli's chances of winning the league look bleak as they are lagging in ninth place at seven points after seven games.

Wasl are sixth, four points ahead.

Meanwhile Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach, wants his Pro League table-toppers to be on their game when they meet Emirates, the promoted club from Ras Al Khaimah.

"The knockout format is much harder because it is the only chances the smaller teams will have to win a major title," said the Romanian. "I have warned my players not to take this game lightly. This game is going to be very, very tough. We have a few injuries but I will play the best available team."

Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabia captain, and Mirel Radoi, the Romanian midfielder, have still not recovered from injury and likely are out of the game against Emirates, who are second bottom in the Pro League.

Al Jazira, who last season won the Cup for the first time, play Al Shabab at Al Ain at 4.50pm, and Sharjah are up against Al Khaleej at 8pm.


President’s Cup

Al Ain v Emirates, 4.45pm

Al Jazira v Al Shabab, 4.50pm

Sharjah v Al Khaleej, 8pm

Al Ahli v Al Wasl, 8pm

All games on Abu Dhabi Sports & Dubai Sports