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Arruabarrena: ‘First is just a number’

Al Wasl coach refuses to read too much into league lead

Gulf News

Dubai: Al Wasl coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena said first is just a number after the Cheetahs won their seventh consecutive game to stay top of the Arabian Gulf League with a 2-1 win away to second-from-bottom Emirates on Wednesday.

Fabio de Lima got a late winner after Humaid Abbas’ early second half opener was cancelled out by Sebastian Sacha before the hour.

It was De Lima’s eighth goal in as many games and stands the yellows in good stead ahead of Monday’s clash at home to defending champions Al Ahli. That said, Arruabarrena isn’t getting too carried away.

“This is just a number,” said the Argentinian former Boca Juniors boss. “Newspapers might write about it and we can see it on the league table, but for me we are still at the beginning, what I am interested in is the end.

“We’ve just got seven wins and we didn’t win any trophies yet. We need to keep up the good work. And again we have four teams with a huge budget and a lot of experience,” he added in reference to Al Ahli, Al Ain, Al Jazira and Al Wahda. “These teams have a great chance in the competition. I am very happy now for the club, the fans and my players.”

Of their opponents, he added: “Emirates is a very difficult team in its own stadium. Many teams have problems against them. I think they deserve better results, they are well organised defensively and their coach knows what he wants.

“The match was good for us, we were the better side except for 10 minutes when they scored the equaliser. My players were able to come back and score from the free-kick. I am proud of my players and tomorrow we will start preparing for the next match.

“I wasn’t surprised with Emirates’ performance. On the pitch we have 11 players against 11. The team’s position on the league table doesn’t matter. We played the match with total seriousness. And we knew how difficult it was going to be.”


Fact Box

Arabian Gulf League results


Emirates 1 Al Wasl 2

Kalba 0 Sharjah 0