x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Diego Maradona wants Al Wasl players alert to Karim Kerkar threat

Al Wasl take on Ajman on Wednesday knowing the Algerian midfielder would be a handful.

DUBAI // Diego Maradona will order his Al Wasl side to stifle the creativity of the Ajman midfielder, Karim Kerkar, when the two sides meet tonight at Zabeel Stadium.

The Wasl coach has pinpointed stopping the Algerian as pivotal in his side's quest for a fourth successive win in the Pro League. "We have studied Ajman and they rely heavily on their No 10," he said. "No 30 and No 25 are also very good, so we must remain alert to them."

When the two teams met earlier this season, the match finished 1-1, but since then Wasl have added six new faces to their squad and have found form as the league nears its climax. Maradona, however, is aware his team must remain cautious and has told his players to expect a tough match.

"In this league, with the exceptions of maybe Al Ain and Al Jazira, who have consistently managed good performances and results, there is no team better than the other," Maradona, whose side sit fifth in the league, six points and three league positions ahead of tonight's opponents, said.

"All the other clubs have an equal chance of beating each other, so it just comes down to how well we perform on the night. I always tell my players never to look at the opposition as inferior or small."

The 51 year old added he will have "no difficulty" in selecting his midfield, but warned that recent results do not conceal poor performances on the pitch.

"In the last match [a nervy 1-0 win against Baniyas], we won but still we made some tactical mistakes," Maradona said. "One goal ahead, we should have retained the ball better. When you lead, you should take control of the game more and score a second. The opponent will always try to equalise and this will leave them open in defence, so we have to learn to capitalise on this space."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae