Arabian Gulf Cup: Al Jazira ‘plan to return with the three points’ from Al Dhafra

Al Jazira travel to the Western Region for an Arabian Gulf Cup assignment on Thursday, aiming to close the gap on Group A leaders Al Dhafra.
Al Jazira manager Henk ten Cate is without three of his Emirati players called up for national team duty when they face Al Dhafra. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Al Jazira manager Henk ten Cate is without three of his Emirati players called up for national team duty when they face Al Dhafra. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Al Jazira travel to the Western Region for an Arabian Gulf Cup assignment on Thursday, aiming to close the gap on Group A leaders Al Dhafra.

Henk ten Cate’s side have played only one game in the competition so far, fighting back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw against Abu Dhabi rivals Al Wahda, while Dhafra are seeking a third win in as many games having already beaten Hatta and Wahda.

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Ten Cate pointed out that their opponents are strengthened by the fact few of their players have been called up for international duty, whereas he will be deprived of the services of Ali Kasheif, the captain and goalkeeper, forward Ali Mabkhout and defender Mohammed Fawzi, who have been called up to Mahdi Ali’s UAE squad for next month’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

“Dhafra has always been a tough opponent for Jazira as it has proved to be from the previous years,” Ten Cate said.

“They will also be at full strength in the cup as they don’t have any players on national duty during the international break.

“However, having said that, we are travelling with a decent squad and with a plan to return with the three points. The absence of some key players shouldn’t be an obstacle or an excuse.”

While Jazira will be missing their national team players, they are not without adequate cover as they possess a strong bench and their foreign quartet at their disposal.

Dhafra, on the other hand, will have few distractions and will look to capitalise on their fine start in Group A and target the cup as an opportunity to win some elusive silverware.

“For smaller teams like us, the cup is a hope, but we have bigger expectations this season, as we want to finish as high as possible in the league,” said Mohammed Quaid, the Dhafra manager.

“We have done quite well to win both games in the cup competition, yet we need to be at our best to win the three points against a team like Jazira. They may have a few players absent but that doesn’t make them any weaker.”

In Thursday’s other matches, Al Ahli travel to Group B leaders Al Shabab while Baniyas host Kalba.

On Friday, Wahda will be hoping to end their winless in Group A run when they face Al Wasl at the Zabeel stadium, while Al Ain will be at home to Al Nasr and Emirates play Hatta in the early game.​

FIXTURES:

Thursday

• Baniyas v Kalba 5.25pm

• Al Dhafra v Al Jazira 5.30pm

• Al Shabab v Al Ahli 8pm

Friday

• Emirates v Hatta 5.15pm

• Al Wasl v Al Wahda 5.20pm

• Al Ain v Al Nasr 8pm

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Published: September 28, 2016 04:00 AM

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