x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Diego Maradona and Al Wasl aim to end frustrating campaign on a high

Dubai side looks to claim Gulf Club Championship finals place at expense of Al Khor.

Diego Maradona's first season at Wasl has not been a success, results wise. Mike Young / The National
Diego Maradona's first season at Wasl has not been a success, results wise. Mike Young / The National

Diego Maradona, the Al Wasl coach, can salvage a disappointing first season as his team bid to become the third successive UAE winners of the Gulf Club Championship.

Wasl meet Al Khor of Qatar tonight at Zabeel Stadium in the first leg of the semi-final. The Dubai club won the tournament in 2010, before Al Shabab beat Al Ahli in the final last November.

"Yes, winning the GCC Cup will help boost us for next season," Maradona tweeted on the club's official Twitter account.

Wasl are eighth in the Pro League with one game left, having only won seven of their 21 matches.

After their last match - a 5-2 defeat to Dubai - some fans even called for Maradona to be replaced.

Maradona said: "We are fully prepared and ready to face Al Khor. We studied them well and know they rely on possession. We will try to deny them that."

The tournament involves teams who were not competing in Asian competition. Wasl beat Al Wahda in the quarter-finals last week. Julio Cesar, the Brazilian forward who started the season as a Shabab player before leaving in January, is the second top scorer in the competition with five goals.

And Maradona said: "He is dangerous and we will do our best to stop him from causing any trouble for us."

apassel@thenational.ae