x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Jazira must put on a perfomance

If Al Jazira's record is anything to go by, then they should win tonight's match without much difficulty.

Al Jazira's Reda Abdulhadi controls the ball in mid-air during the 1-0 defeat of Al Dhafra on Sunday.
Al Jazira's Reda Abdulhadi controls the ball in mid-air during the 1-0 defeat of Al Dhafra on Sunday.

ABU DHABI // If Al Jazira's record is anything to go by, then they should win tonight's match without much difficulty. They have been on the top of their game in one match and struggled in the one that follows. They laboured in 1-0 result over a weakened Al Dhafra in the Pro League on Sunday, which apparently upset their coach Abel Braga so much that he didn't appear at the post match conference.

He wants Jazira to return to the top of their game but he could have asked for easier opponents than Al Wasl in tonight's President's Cup second-round tie at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain. Braga, whose team drew a first- round bye, has called for consistency from his players as Jazira look to reach the quarter-finals against the 2007 winners. The Brazilian was apologetic on his absence at the press conference. "I lost my cool after the Dhafra match and I am sorry about it. Anyway we have put all that behind us and have been working on those areas to be improved to win this game with Wasl." Wasl have had their share of problems, but under new coach Srecko Juricic they seem to fighting back after two high-scoring draws with Al Shaab and Al Sharjah in the Pro League.

Al Wahda will want to restore some pride after a dismal 1-0 home defeat to Al Ain in the Pro League on Monday. They face second division Dibba Al Hosn at the Wasl Stadium. The coach Ahmed Abdulhaleem, already under pressure after a string of ordinary performances, saw his team need extra-time to see off second division club Hatta 4-3 in the last round. Abdulhaleem remained unruffled. He said: "We have not lost any hopes of winning the domestic titles. We are going into a different competition and we can't be thinking on what happened in the previous game.

"We must learn from our mistakes and try to move forward. I don't think there are any worries in our camp. We are a better side and if we play to our true potential we can win this game, and win convincingly." The Moroccan defender Mourad Ainy and Mohammed Othman return to strengthen the Wahda defence but the UAE international Basheer Saeed joins Fahed Masoud and Abdulla Noubi on the injury list. Al Shabab and Sharjah are two teams who have struggled all season, and they confront second division clubs Ras Al Khaimah and Ittihad Kalba in Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah respectively.

Shabab, who had a first-round bye, come off the back of a 3-1 loss to Al Nasr followed by a humiliating 1-0 defeat to promoted Ajman, and Sharjah suffered a 4-0 hammering from Jazira plus a 4-4 thriller with Wasl, all in the Pro League. apassela@thenational.ae