x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Diego Maradona eyes Gulf Clubs Championship finals berth

Coach confident as Al Wasl enter second leg of semi-finals with 3-0 advantage.

Diego Maradona reacts on the touchline for Al Wasl
Diego Maradona reacts on the touchline for Al Wasl

Al Wasl have a golden opportunity to take Diego Maradona to a final tonight when they play Al Khor of Qatar in the Gulf Clubs Championship.

The Dubai side hold a 3-0 advantage from the first leg of their semi-final and the coach is confident they can finish the job in tonight's second leg.

The Argentine legend wants to end his first season in the UAE with a trophy after an unsuccessful campaign in the three domestic competitions.

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

Maradona rested all his key players in their last Pro League game, which ended in a 6-2 defeat to Al Ahli last Sunday but will have a full squad to select against Al Khor.

Majed Naser, who returned from his self-imposed retirement, will start in goal while the Argentines Mariano Donda and Juan Mercier, and the forwards Juan Manuel Olivera, the Uruguayan and Reza Khalatbari, the Iranian, are all in the squad.

Wasl are unbeaten in the Gulf Clubs Championship and are favourites but Essa Ali, the captain, said they still had 90 minutes away from reaching the final.

"Nothing is guaranteed in football," he said. "Of course we are in a strong position but we still have the other half of the match to play. It is very easy to say we have a 3-0 lead but we still have to go out there and maintain this advantage."

Ali also acknowledged the importance of reaching the final in a season that started with full of optimism under Maradona.

"It has been a frustrating season so far but we hope we can still finish on a high if we can reach the final of this competition. I think we have done a lot of hard work and deserve this."

 

apassela@thenational.ae

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