x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pride is at stake as rivals Jazira and Wahda look for consolation in the cup

Defeated and humiliated in the Asian Champions League, Al Wahda and Al Jazira sqaure off in their Etisalat Cup semi-final second leg.

ABU DHABI // Defeated and humiliated in the Asian Champions League (ACL), Al Wahda and Al Jazira will each be looking to restore some battered pride when they square off in tonight's Etisalat Cup second leg semi-final at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium. Wahda suffered a third successive defeat when going down to Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia 2-0 and Jazira were thrashed 5-1 by another Saudi side, Al Ahli, leaving both with little or no hope of going beyond the group stage in the ACL.

Emotions will run high when the traditional rivals meet for the fourth time this season. The two Pro League encounters have resulted in one win each and the first leg semi-final meeting ended 1-1 at the Al Nahyan Stadium, giving Jazira an away goal advantage. "We want to win everything we play for, but here pride is also at stake," said Haider Ali, the Wahda captain. "It's going to be a close game with the top two teams in the league, and the form doesn't matter. This game brings the best out of the players and emotions will be high."

Haider, who missed the midweek game because of injury, said that the coach, Josef Hickersberger, will have some seriously thinking to do about his line-up. "We have been playing in three competitions and that's taken a toll," said Haider. "We have hardly had any time to recover from minor injuries. So it is up to the coach to consult the physio and decide on the line-up." Al Ain go into their last four home clash against Ajman buoyed by a superb 2-1 win in the ACL over Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia in midweek. The first leg in the Northern Emirates finished 1-1.

apassela@thenational.ae Al Jazira v Al Wahda at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium 5.45pm Al Ain v Ajman at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium 8.30pm