x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Boost for Al Wahda after being re-awarded Etisalat Cup semi-final place

Branko Ivancovic's side will travel to face Dubai in the Pro League on Friday with their points deduction in the cup competition overturned.

Al Wahda head coach Branko Ivankovic.
Al Wahda head coach Branko Ivankovic.

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda travel to Dubai buoyed by their qualification for the semi-finals in the Etisalat Cup was confirmed.

The competition committee had docked the club three points after their January 3 2-1 win over Al Nasr for having named an ineligible player in their match squad.

However, Wahda were re-awarded the three points after their appeal was upheld following a lengthy inquiry. It took their tally to 19 points, four more than Al Ain who have a game left to play.

The top side from each of the three groups reaches the semi-finals, so Al Ain will now have to hope they are the best runners-up. That will be worked out once all the games have been played.

With last-four spots in both the Etisalat Cup and President's Cup, Wahda are in confident mood, despite trailing Pro League leaders Al Ain by 19 points.

"The league is beyond our reach but we still have a lot to play for with the two Cup semi-finals," Branko Ivankovic, the Wahda coach, said.

"We will try to finish as high as possible, perhaps a top-four finish in the league.

"I think we have done extremely well so far considering the injury problems we were plagued from the beginning of the season. We didn't have all four foreigners available to us until last week.

"We are getting back to a good level to finish above Al Ain and Nasr in the Etisalat Cup, and our victory over Jazira, all three who are in the Asian Champions League."

Ivankovic had all four foreigners in his line-up in the 2-1 win over Kalba last week, for the first time in five months.

The Croatian will have a full squad barring Hamdan Al Kamali, the centre-back who was red-carded in the last game and the injured Mohammed Al Shehhi.

Dubai suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat to Baniyas last week and Ivankovic expects a backlash.

"It was a hard result for them but definitely a better team than the score line suggest," he said.

"Aside from our game against Dubai, we are looking for more improvement from our team now that most of the players are returning to full fitness and with all four foreigners available.

 

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