x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

We want to win it for fans, says al Kamali of Al Wahda

Fernando Baiano will undergo a later fitness test as Al Wahda and Al Wasl look to salvage their respective seasons by reaching the final of the President's Cup.

Josef Hickersberger believes his side's point against Persepolis, in red, in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, was good for his side's morale ahead of their game with Al Wasl today. Amin Mohammad Jamali / Reuters
Josef Hickersberger believes his side's point against Persepolis, in red, in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, was good for his side's morale ahead of their game with Al Wasl today. Amin Mohammad Jamali / Reuters

ABU DHABI // Hamdan al Kamali, the Al Wahda defender, concedes his team need to win their game tonight to resurrect their season.

The Pro League champions face Al Wasl in the first President's Cup semi-final at Zayed Sports City Stadium and will be under pressure from their demanding management team to reach the final.

Josef Hickersberger's side are languishing in seventh place in the league after losing their last two games to Al Ahli, at home, and away at Kalba, the bottom-placed team. They also crashed out of the Etisalat Cup to Al Shabab, who came from a goal down to win 3-1.

"We have lost all hopes of the Pro League and are out of the Etisalat Cup, so that makes this game the most important in our quest to win domestic silverware," al Kamali said.

"This is a game in which we will put more than 100 per cent [effort]because it is our only hope. We want to win this for our fans."

Wasl beat Wahda in their opening game of the season but Wahda took revenge with a thumping 4-0 home win last month.

"We are facing a strong team but that is what we expect it to be in every game," Hickersberger said.

"We haven't done well in the domestic competitions but I will ask for one big effort from my players to play in the final."

The Austrian coach can take some positives from their last game, a 1-1 Asian Champions League draw in Tehran against Persepolis, the Iranian giants.

"It was a good result for the morale of the team," said Hickersberger.

"In my point of view the draw was very satisfying because it's not easy to play and win in Iran. Had we lost, it would have made our task for this semi-final more difficult."

Fernando Baiano, the Brazilian striker, who did not travel to Iran, remains doubtful.

Hickersberger said Baiano will have to undergo a fitness test before the game.

"He has been training with us for the last two days but only Baiano can say if he is 100 per cent and ready to play. I just hope he will be ready for this game, but only time can tell," he said.

Sergio Farias, the Wasl coach, also recognises the importance of the match.

"It is quite obvious both teams have similar intentions as we both have only the President's Cup to play for," he said. "This is not like the league, just one game and one team will have to go out.

"We are aware Wahda have played more games and they may be a tired side. But they are also fighting for a trophy and we expect them to use all their resources for this one game. They still are a good team and we are ready for them."

Farias will have to do without the services of Mohammed Jamal, the defender who suffered an injury in the UAE's Olympic qualifier against Sri Lanka two weeks ago.

Al Jazira and Al Shabab will meet in the second semi-final tomorrow.

 

apassela@thenational.ae

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