x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Managers feel the heat ahead of Sharjah showdown

Whether the Al Shaab coach Ayman al Ramadi keeps his job will depend hugely on the outcome of his team's home game with the defending champions Al Shabab.

Toninho Cerezo and his Shaab counterpart Ayman al Ramadi are both under pressure.
Toninho Cerezo and his Shaab counterpart Ayman al Ramadi are both under pressure.

The Al Shaab coach Ayman al Ramadi faces an uncertain future. Whether he keeps his job will depend hugely on the outcome of his team's home game with the defending champions Al Shabab in the Pro League tonight. Shaab were beaten 2-0 when the two sides met earlier this season and since then they have won just two games and drawn one, scoring 11 goals in 11 matches.

The are bottom of the Pro League alongside Al Khaleej. Al Ramadi is the second coach to take charge of Shaab following the sacking of the Belgian Luka Berzovic, but the Egyptian has not been able to improve their fortunes either in the league or the cup competitions. The Shabab coach Toninho Cerezo is facing similar pressure with his team's chances of retaining the league title all but ended. They are now struggling to move up the ladder and are only three points ahead of both Shaab and Khaleej.

But, the Brazilian believes his men still have a lot to play for having reached the semi-final of the President's Cup and the Champions League. "We have had a poor start to the league and we will try to move forward as much as possible," said Cerezo. "We are in the process of building a team and I think the recent results suggest we are quietly getting back to what we were." Shabab signed the Emirati midfielders Khalid Darwish and Khalaf Ismail from Al Wasl during the transfer window.

And Cerezo said: "I am happy both Khalid and Khalaf have settled down well, and they are likely to be in the line-up for their first games for the club." The Emirati coach Eid Baroud will be hoping to follow up his first Pro League point for Al Dhafra with a win over Khaleej, who would be pushed deeper into the danger zone by another defeat. Al Ahli, who share the Pro League lead with Al Jazira, put a ban on the media ahead of their home clash with Al Nasr, who will field the new signing Brazilian Claudio Rena.

Elsewhere, Jorge Valdivia, the Al Ain playmaker has been ruled out for three weeks after an injury he sustained playing for Chile in an international friendly with South Africa last week. Valdivia scored a goal in his team's 2-0 win but Ain are the ones who will suffer as reports suggest he will be ruled out for three Pro League games and the President's Cup semi-finals with Dhafra. Ain travel to Sharjah, who are in deep trouble as they go into tonight's game without a coach following the Tunisian Youssef al Zawawi's decision to quit two weeks ago. Sharjah's Brazilian fitness coach, known as Joseph, takes charge of the team until a replacement for al Zawawi is found.

apassela@thenational.ae