x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Cerezo worried by form

Toninho Cerezo has warned his Al Shabab side that their defence of their league title is in serious danger.

DUBAI // Toninho Cerezo has warned his Al Shabab side that their defence of their league title is in serious danger and the "Slashers" need to change course quickly if they want to avoid seeing their dreams come to a crashing halt. Cerezo's hope of a turnaround in Sunday's Pro League game was wrecked by by Sameer Ibraheem's winner for Ajman three minutes into stoppage time. Ibraheem was on hand to put a fumble by Shabab keeper Salem Abdullah into the net for the only goal of the match to clinch three points for the hosts.

Shabab have only picked up one point from their last four games and lie eighth in the table. On seven points they have just three points more than the bottom side Al Khaleej and cannot afford any more reverses. "The yellow [warning] light is on for us and we have to react quickly to improve our position on the points table," said Cerezo. "We have to be a lot more careful than we have been and the up coming matches will be a real test of our character.

"We congratulate Ajman. They played an attacking game and created a lot of opportunities to score a goal. They could have scored a lot more goals. The winner in stoppage time was a just reward for all their hard work. "They got a goal which was not very creative, but these things happen in the game. "In the first half we did not play very well. We did much better in the second half and looked more stable. Ajman are very strong in attack, so we are not going to say our defending was bad.

The Ajman coach Abdul Wahab Abdul Kader was delighted with the victory. He said: ""Our focus right through the season has been on playing attacking football. "Our defence was also very good and we controlled the mid-field. The late goal was the perfect gift for all our hard work." arizvi@thenational.ae