(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) We are keen to get a good result and keep up our challenge for the title at the top of the table, says Paqueta
The 17th round of the Arabian Gulf League kicks off with two interesting clashes featuring Dubai against Al Ain as Al Dhafra entertain Al Shabab in the Western region. Later in the night. Al Shabab Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta looked confident that the squad is in good form and the players are determined to throw the recent defeats behind their backs.
"We have prepared well for our Thursday's home clash against Al Wasl," Paqueta told newsmen during the pre-match Press conference on Wednesday. "The players have benefited from the break and hopefully they had enough rest ahead of the most crucial stages of the competitions," he added.
Al Shabab are now six points off the pace in third place after losing second to Al Jazira who beat them 0-1 in the 16th round of the competition.
"We have been working on some tactical problems during the break. We are keen to get a good result and keep up our challenge for the title at the top of the table. We beat Al Wasl earlier in the season but we must be aware that this is a different team from the one we played then as they have brought in many new players. I expect a tough game with fierce rivalry as it is a Dubai derby.
"There is still a long way to go and many points to be won; and some things could be turned upside down due to the business done by various clubs during the transfer window," he added. Al Wasl's head coach Hector Cuper also expressed his relief at having some respite between fixtures, allowing more detailed preparation and training sessions for his players focusing on technical matters, and the Argentine coach insists his side go into the Round 17 match in high spirits. "Al Shabab are one of the strongest teams in the League, scoring a high number of goals and conceding few, so we must focus and take them very seriously," Cuper said.
On Friday, Ajman host Al Jazira and Al Shaab face the challenge of pace setters Al Ahli at the Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium in Sharjah. The match is particularly crucial for the two sides at the top and bottom of the table.
Al Ahli are showing the way with 36 points, four points clear of Al Jazira and a win will see them taking a huge step towards the trophy while Al Shaab have no safe side and either to win and improve their chances to maintain their pro-league status and the at same time a defeat could.