x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ali not breaking stride

Mahdi Ali has guided Al Ahli to two wins in three games after taking the reins at the club.

Mahdi Ali has guided Al Ahli to two wins in three games after taking the reins at the club. And he has a superb chance to make that three from four against a wounded Al Wasl side at home tonight as the Pro League returns from a two-week break. Ali led Ahli to a win in his first game in charge against Al Nasr 2-1 in the Pro League, but went down to Al Wahda in the Etisalat Cup before an impressive 4-2 result over Sharjah took them to the last eight of the President's Cup.

"The first and last games were the most important since I took charge earlier this month," said Ali. "The win against Nasr not only restored the confidence of the players, but it also gave me a good platform as the new coach. And the last game in the President's Cup is the same because it was a knockout format." Ahli face a team who suffered a shock exit from the President's Cup, beaten by Emirates 2-1 in extra-time.

Ali added: "We can't get complacent against any team, particularly teams like Wasl, who are already under pressure. Such teams are very dangerous." Baniyas, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from the 4-0 defeat to Al Wahda in last week's President's Cup when they face Al Shabab at home. apassela@thenational.ae Baniyas v Al Shabab, KO 4.50pm, Al Ahli v Al Wasl, KO 8pm