x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Arabian Gulf League: Ali Kasheif draws positives from Jazira defeat

Goalkeeper Ali Kasheif not reading too much into his team's loss to Al Ahli, of Saudi Arabia, in the IPIC Cup friendly tournament, reports Amith Passela.

Al Jazira goalkeeper Ali Kasheif believes 'it is going to be an exciting season with the bar raised.' Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Al Jazira goalkeeper Ali Kasheif believes 'it is going to be an exciting season with the bar raised.' Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

ABU DHABI // Ali Kasheif, the Al Jazira goalkeeper, took the positives from his team's loss to Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the IPIC Cup friendly tournament.

An early goal from the South Korean Jun Suk-hyun was enough for the visitors to clinch the finale of the four-team competition 1-0 at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in the early hours yesterday.

"It is always a nice feeling to win every game we play, but this competition was to re-group and give the feel of a couple of games to the players," Kasheif said.

"We played two matches and the coach had the opportunity to provide all the squad players time on the pitch. He was trying out different combinations with the new players.

"I think we take a lot of positives from the couple of games before heading to our camps in Switzerland and Germany.

"It is going to be an exciting season with the bar raised every passing year."

Ahli are preparing for their Asian Champions League quarter final first leg against FC Seoul on August 21 and were very serious in their approach.

Vitor Pereira, the Saudi team's coach, said the tournament was "very useful", since it provided the opportunity for him to test his players in a competitive environment.

"To win the cup was a good incentive and confidence-booster for the players," the Portuguese said.

"All the teams in the competition are preparing for the new season and the competition was at a good level. For us, it was a really good and we are happy with the results."

Jazira finished without a trophy in 2012/13 but Kasheif is still confident of their chances in an ongoing title hunt.

"We were disappointed that we couldn't win a trophy last season," Kasheif said. "We are now looking ahead and we have confidence in our coach [Luis Milla] that we can get into the trophy-winning trail again."

Jazira have signed two high-profile foreigners in Nelson Valdez, the Paraguay international from the Primera Liga club Valencia, and Abdelaziz Barrada, the Morocco international from the Spanish side Getafe.

"Of course, they are players with excellent track records, and obviously, we think they can both play important roles and help others to achieve the club's objectives," Kasheif said of the two signees.

"They have settled in well and have struck an excellent friendship with everyone at the club. This is very important because when they are happy and relaxed, they can adapt quickly."

Valdez and Barrada created a few scoring opportunities in the two games, but more is expected from the pair along with Jazira's Brazilian forward Ricardo Oliveira, in his fifth year at the club, and the Korean centre back Shin Hyung-min, playing in the second season of his two-year deal.


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