Al Ain aim to end first half of Adnoc Pro League on a high

The league leaders travel to Sharjah holding a nine-point lead

Al Ain players celebrate their quarter final win over Al Wasl in the Pro League Cup at Zabeel stadium. Photo: PLC

Al Ain travel to Sharjah looking to round-off the first half of the Adnoc Pro League campaign with their undefeated record intact.

Serhiy Rebrov’s men are on 30 points after 12 matches, nine clear of their closest challengers Al Wahda, followed by Shabab Al Ahli, Sharjah and Al Jazira, all of them one point further down.

Al Ain have won nine and drawn three of their league fixtures, and their Brazilian defender Rafael Pereira sees no reason why the Garden City club can't reach the halfway stage undefeated.

“With all due respect to Sharjah, I strongly believe we are playing good football to maintain our unbeaten record,” he said.

“We have earned some very good results in both the league and cup matches despite injuries and fatigue suffered to some key players, but those provided with the opportunity have done admirably well to fill in that vacuum.

“Injuries and fatigue are not unusual when playing in a 14-team league plus the other competitions, but at Al Ain we have proved we have a strong bench, particularly the youngsters.”

Al Ain needed a late goal to overcome Ajman 2-1 while Sharjah were held by the bottom team Emirates 2-2 in their last league matches.

“The spirit of one family between the team’s system of technical and administrative staff, players and fans gives us the motivation to fight for success of the club,” Rafael added.

“The coach has instilled the confidence in us to show our strong personality and the pride in wearing the club logo on our chests, and that mentality with which we deal in all matches.

“So, we work in the spirit of one team, and everyone encourages us from the management, coach, to the teammates and above all, the Al Ain club fans, which gives me the motivation to continue with my own performances.”

Sharjah manager Cosmin Olaroiu has a selection headache with many absences, including captain Shaheen Abdulrahman, who is serving a one-match ban, as well as the Congolese forward Ben Malango due to injury.

Ajman meet Emirates and Baniyas take the long trip to Kalba in the other games on the night.

Updated: January 7th 2022, 11:03 AM