x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Jazira out to banish poor memories of President's Cup

The Abu Dhabi club have twice succumbed to painful defeats in the tournament in the past two years.

ABU DHABI // Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, hopes it will be a case of third time lucky in the President's Cup tonight.

The Brazilian has seen his side twice succumb to painful defeats in the tournament in the past two years.

Last season, Jazira lost to Al Shabab at the semi-final stage, going down in a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 draw. The year before, it was quarter-final misery as city rivals Al Wahda also triumphed from spot kicks.

______________

Also

Magrao checks in for Al Wahda in President's Cup semi-final

______________

Jazira have their chance for revenge tonight against Shabab when the two teams meet at the Zayed Sports City Stadium.

"Just like the Pro League, the President's Cup has eluded us for the past two years," Braga said. "We just hope we can break that trend. This is a winner-take-all game and we are ready for any challenge."

Jazira have been runners-up in the league for the last three seasons, twice under Braga. They are currently heading the table on 35 points, seven more than Baniyas, their closest challengers, with nine games left.

Braga's men return to the domestic competition after last week's 5-1 thrashing from Sepahan of Iran in the Asian Champion League (ACL).

"We had a poor away game in the ACL but in football such results happen," Braga said. "The ACL and domestic competitions are at two different levels and cannot be compared. All teams are equal in the domestic competition."

Edson Gonzaga, the assistant to Paulo Bonamigo, the Shabab coach, admitted his side are the underdogs.

"They were the favourites in our last meeting in the President's Cup yet we managed to defeat them," he said. "This time they are much stronger. They are the best team in the league and it will be a very hard task, yet it is not impossible to win over them again."

apassela@thenational.ae

5.45pm, Dubai Sports 1