x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Al Nasr look to rebound against Dubai in Etisalat Cup competition

Al Nasr is looking to turn things around starting with their trip to Dubai in the Etisalat Cup, writes John McAuley.

Al Nasr fans are disappointed with the team and letting head coach Walter Zenga know it.
Al Nasr fans are disappointed with the team and letting head coach Walter Zenga know it.

Al Nasr will attempt to arrest a worrying slump in form when they travel to Dubai on Thursday afternoon for Round 5 of the Etisalat Cup.

Walter Zenga's side are without a victory in four matches, and last week's 2-0 home defeat to Al Ain left the club fifth in the Pro League table at the season's halfway stage, 12 points behind their pacesetting conquerors.

It marks a frustrating few months for Nasr, who were expected to challenge for the title having last season finished as the country's second-best side.

The defeat by Al Ain prompted some of the club's supporters to direct their disappointment at Zenga, prompting speculation that the Italian's future at the Al Maktoum Stadium is uncertain.

However, such a knee-jerk reaction would only accentuate the league's constant folly in dispensing too soon with managers, as Zenga undoubtedly represents one of the division's most astute.

Thursday's match at the Dubai Sports and Cultural Club Stadium therefore offers the opportunity to kick start a positive run of results, although Nasr currently sit fourth in Group A, with one defeat and two draws from their three matches.

They will be missing Habib Fardan, the midfielder, who is on international duty with the UAE.

Bruno Correa and Nashat Akram, the influential duo in attack, are expected to sit out, too.

From Dubai's perspective, the match is a chance to leapfrog Al Ain into second place and keep the pressure on Al Wahda, the Etisalat Cup Group A leaders.

Al Ain entertain Al Shaab on Friday at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium.

In Group B, Baniyas host Kalba in a match that pits the pool's bottom two clubs against one other. Should they win, Baniyas will be on six points alongside second-placed Al Dhafra, who make a trip on Friday to Al Jazira.

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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