x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Paulo Bonamigo targets a strong finish for Shabab

Al Shabab coach Paulo Bonamigo says the current top four teams in the Pro League will likley be the ones to finish as such, barring a little jockeying for position between them.

Paulo Bonamigo is pushing for his Shabab side to make a strong run to the finish and says the current top four teams are likely the only jockey for positions amongst themselves.
Paulo Bonamigo is pushing for his Shabab side to make a strong run to the finish and says the current top four teams are likely the only jockey for positions amongst themselves.

 

DUBAI // Paulo Bonamigo, the Al Shabab coach, says the battle for the top four positions in the Pro League is virtually settled, with little chance for the likes of Ajman or Al Wasl to close the gap.

With five rounds of matches to play, Al Ain are leading the table on 42 points, while Shabab are second on 33. The defending champions Al Jazira and Al Nasr are level on 32 points, and there is an eight-point gap between them and the next two teams, Ajman and Diego Maradona's Wasl.

Bonamigo agrees one of those teams could win all their five matches and romp into the top four, but the Brazilian believes that is unlikely to happen.

"It [eight points] is a big distance and I believe these four teams will go on to finish in the top four," Bonamigo said. "Their positions are not decided, but they will be fighting for the top four. Of course, we can have a situation where one team goes on to win their last five matches and get 15 points.

"That is a possibility, but the way things stand and the way the league has gone till now, we can safely say the top four teams in the standings at the moment will remain there till the end of the season."

With just a point separating the three teams behind Al Ain, Bonamigo also expects a tight battle between Jazira, Nasr and his own team as they fight for one of the UAE's three automatic qualifying spots in the Asian Champions League.

Bonamigo does not rule out a late surge by one of the teams to upstage Al Ain, who enjoy a nine-point cushion at the moment.

"It is very important to have a challenge, the challenge of trying to finish in a better position," he said. "Right now, we can fight for second, third and, who knows, even for the title. This is the challenge that keeps teams going, keeps motivating them."

 

arizvi@thenational.ae

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