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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

Al Wasl 'making every effort' to win Arabian Gulf League title, insists Rodolfo Arruabarrena

The UAE top flight enters its second round of fixtures, with champions Al Jazira in action tomorrow away to Dibba. 

Rodolfo Arruabarrena led Al Wasl to a runner-up finish in the Arabian Gulf League last season and is aiming to "go one better". Tom Dulat / Getty Images
Rodolfo Arruabarrena led Al Wasl to a runner-up finish in the Arabian Gulf League last season and is aiming to "go one better". Tom Dulat / Getty Images

Al Wasl manager Rodolfo Arruabarrena has said the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) title is the ultimate goal this season as the club look to build on their opening day draw against Al Ain.

Led by 25-goal striker Fabio De Lima, Al Wasl finished the 2016/17 league campaign as runners-up to champions Al Jazira, the club's highest placing since winning the title in 2007 when the UAE top flight was still an amateur competition.

The Dubai club opened their current season with an impressive 2-2 draw away to Al Ain on Saturday, and next host Emirates at the Zabeel Stadium on Thursday.

“We have only one objective in every game we play, that’s to win,” said Argentine manager Arruabarrena, who was handed a contract extension after his impressive debut season in charge.

“We achieved good results last season and that has made everyone to make every effort to do their best to go one better this time around.”

In the Thursday's early game, Sharjah make the long journey to Al Dhafra as both teams look to secure their first wins of the season following opening day draws at Al Nasr and Emirates respectively.

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On Friday, Jazira travel to Dibba aiming for a better performance than their narrow 2-1 win at home over the promoted Ajman.

The reigning champions stormed to the title last season, setting a new record for most wins in an AGL season with 22. However, their opening day win against Ajman did not satisfy manager Henk ten Cate and the Dutchman has demanded his team "come back stronger" in their next match.

Romanian manager Laurentiu Reghecampf, who got his Al Wahda career off to the perfect start last week with a 5-0 victory over Dibba, takes his side to Dubai to face Al Nasr in Friday's other fixture.

Al Ain will look to jumpstart their season on Saturday when they travel to Hatta. The Garden City club were last week eliminated from the Asian Champions League at the quarter-final stage and followed that up with the draw against Wasl.

Saturday's late game sees the newly-formed Shabab Al Ahli visit Ajman as Cosmin Olaroiu's side attempt to make to two wins from two games following their opening win over Hatta.

ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE FIXTURES

Thursday, September 21
Al Dahfra v Sharjah (kick-off 5.35pm)
Al Wasl v Emirates (8.30pm)

Friday, September 22
Dibba v Al Jazira (5.25pm)
Al Nasr v Al Wahda (8.30pm)

Saturday, September 23
Hatta v Al Ain (5.25pm)
Ajman v Shabab Al Ahli (8.30pm)

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