x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Pro League previews: Al Jazira play Ajman, Asamoah Gyan back for Al Ain, who take on Al Dhafra

Al Jazira are keen to put the disappointment of their President's Cup exit behind them, while Asamoah Gyan back after African Cup of Nations duty.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 16, 2013. Paulo Bonamigo ( Head Coach of Al Jazira ) during their match against Al Wasl for the Etisalat Cup. ( Jeffrey E Biteng / The National )
Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 16, 2013. Paulo Bonamigo ( Head Coach of Al Jazira ) during their match against Al Wasl for the Etisalat Cup. ( Jeffrey E Biteng / The National )

Al Jazira are keen to put the disappointment of their President's Cup exit behind them as they restart their Pro League campaign with a visit to Ajman tonight.

The two-time defending President's Cup champions were knocked out of the tournament on Sunday when they lost 2-1 to Abu Dhabi rivals Al Wahda.

The defeat brought an end to Jazira's 16-match unbeaten streak, and while their coach Paulo Bonamigo was disappointed he is confident his team still have a lot to look forward to this season.

"Of course, we know it is not easy to digest [the defeat to Wahda], but we had a talk with the players about it and all of us are looking to improve our performance against Ajman," Bonamigo said.

"It is going to be a very tough match. Ajman at home are a very difficult opponent for anyone, so we know we will face a lot of difficulties in this match. But we are working for a better performance and a better result.

"The league is the most important championship in the country and we are in second position. We believe we can still fight for the title and that is what we want to do.

"So each match is a final for us from now on and that's enough motivation for our players to forget about the President's Cup and look forward to the league."

With 12 rounds to go, Jazira are nine points behind the leaders Al Ain, who meet Al Dhafra in today's early kick off with Asamoah Gyan back from his national team duties with Ghana at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Dhafra were drubbed 7-0 by Al Ain in Round 3 of the Pro League and their coach Laurent Banide is hoping to avoid a similar scoreline, especially since he will be missing all the players who are on loan from Al Ain as part of the agreement between the two teams.

"It is going to be a really difficult game for us," the Frenchman said. "We dropped three points at home in the last round against Dibba Al Fujairah and we do not want a repeat. So we will enter the game with the aim of getting a positive result and matching the high standards of Al Ain."

 

arizvi@thenational.ae

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