x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Pro League: Baniyas' goal-scoring pair may be on the bench against Al Wahda

Baniyas will be without Mohamed Aboutrika aginst Al Wahda and another goal scorer, Christian Wilhelmsson, may also be out with injury, writes Amith Passela.

Baniyas' Christian Wilhelmsson, right, missed last week's win with an injury and he may still be out for Friday's match against Al Wadha. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo
Baniyas' Christian Wilhelmsson, right, missed last week's win with an injury and he may still be out for Friday's match against Al Wadha. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo

Jozef Chovanec, the Baniyas coach, faces going into Friday night's match against Al Wahda without two of his best players.

The midseason signing Mohamed Aboutrika has been ruled out for a third game in a row while fellow January arrival Christian Wilhelmsson is doubtful.

Aboutrika, the Egyptian midfielder, is recovering from a hamstring injury and will not be back in training until next week while the Swedish winger Wilhelmsson will have a late fitness test after missing last week's 2-1 away win over Dibba Al Fujairah.

Aboutrika – who is on a six-month loan from Al Ahly of Egypt – has lived up to his reputation so far by scoring in both his appearances, in the 2-1 defeat to Al Ain in the President's Cup and the 5-0 thrashing of Dubai in the Pro League. Wilhelmsson also has two goals in three league games.

Baniyas will be weaker without the pair, but Chovanec is not looking for any excuses.

"Injuries are not uncommon in football and we will go [into the match] with a positive mood," Chovanec said.

"We have had this problem from the beginning of the season yet we have done pretty well to be second in the league. We will try to consolidate our position."

Some consolation for Chovanec is that the midfielders Mohammed Fawzi and Sultan Al Ghaferi are back after serving one-match bans.

Wahda defeated Baniyas 2-0 in their only meeting in the league on November 2 and their coach Branko Ivankovic was upbeat ahead of the match.

"We have proved time and again that we can beat any team when we are at full strength," he said. "We are now getting back to full strength with most of the players fully recovered from injuries. We have had some good results and we want to continue progressing in the league."

Al Shaab v Al Nasr

Marius Sumudica, the Al Shaab coach, fears the pressure of fighting relegation is causing his players to make mistakes. “It has already cost us,” said the Romanian. “The players are under tremendous pressure for fear of being relegated, but if they can get over this paranoia we can expect better results.”

Kalba v Ajman

After throwing away three points against Al Shabab last week, Ajman look to get back to winning ways against lowly Kalba tonight. Ajman were leading 2-1 until a last-gasp equaliser from Edgar Bruno, right. Kalba stunned Al Nasr two weeks ago and will be looking to reproduce that result at home.

apassela@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE