x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Shabab's Bonamigo feared a backlash from Al Jazira

"Jazira were coming off a bad result, and we felt they might come and give their maximum against us," he said. "They did."

ABU DHABI // Paulo Bonamigo was sorry to see Al Jazira routed 5-1 by Sepahan of Tehran in the Asian Champions League last week.

He felt badly that a fellow Pro League team lost so decisively, but he also was worried about how it might affect his team, Al Shabab, because they were up next on the Abu Dhabi side's fixtures list. "Jazira were coming off a bad result, and we felt they might come and give their maximum against us," Bonamigo said. "They did."

Jazira overran Shabab 4-1 last night to reach the final of the President's Cup.

Bonamigo said his team played far better than the scoreline would indicate. "We had a chance to score the first goal, and didn't, and then they scored right after that," he said. "That changed the game. We had to open ourselves up, and they got the second and then the third."

Shabab might have had a quick lead if Mohammed Naser had been able to score when he went one-on-one with Ali Kashief, the Jazira goalkeeper, in the ninth minute. Instead, his weak shot was smothered by Kasheif at the top of the box, and Jazira scored seconds later.

The Brazilian coach said Shabab have much to play for. The Dubai side have reached the final of the Etisalat Cup and will play Al Ain for the trophy, and they also are among the six clubs separated by only two points in the race for third place and a potential berth in the 2012 Asian Champions League.

"We're not thinking about next season at all," he said. "We aren't finished with this season. Not at all."