Abu Dhabi: Al Wasl striker Caio Canedo soon after their dramatic win over Al Wahda in penalties has heralded that his team can beat Al Ain and clinch the President’s Cup.
Al Wasl were tied with Al Wahda 2-2 in normal time and 3-3 at the end of extra time but the Cheetahs’ won 5-4 on penalties after keeper Yousuf Al Zaabi saved the spot kick by Al Wahda’s ace Argentine striker Sebastian Tagliabue.
“We were struggling this season with lot of injuries to our players. But we deserved to be in the finals because we never give up. That has been the key and I’m really happy for the boys. When you put the heart on the tip of the shoe, anything can happen,” said a jubilant Canedo adding that Al Ain can be beaten despite having romped into the finals with an authoritative 6-0 victory over Shabab Al Ahli.
“They have scored six against Al Ahli but we are Al Wasl. There is no doubt Al Ain is a good team but in a final anything can happen. Who wants more and who commits less mistakes move in,” asserted Canedo.
Al Wahda’s ace striker Tagliabue understandably was distraught after the match and was quick to apologise to the fans for missing from the spot.
“All my teammates and coach did everything. I missed one and that was my worst moment this year. I want to say sorry to the fans and to the club. I always try to do my best for the club. Unfortunately today I missed one very important chance,” said a dejected Tagliabue. The striker also went on to reveal that he and the club is yet to decide on the extension of the contact for the coming season.
Having got in a position to clinch the second title of the season, Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic also hailed his team for their performance in the 6-0 rout of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the semi-final.
In the authoritative win, Brazilian Caio scored a brace, while Egyptian Hussain Al Shahat, Swede Marcus Berg, Ahmad Khalil and Bandar Al Ahbabi completed the tally with a goal apiece.
“I do not think we expected to win by such a huge margin but we had prepared really well for the contest. We entered into the contest expecting to score as the focus was on the good preparation and to provide the best performance,” said a delighted Mamic in the post-match press briefing.
Mamic also praised his support staff for their efforts in ensuring that the his players were in the best of shape and in the right frame of mind for the contest.
“I’m very proud of my team and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the other coaching staff and fitness trainer, medical staff and therapists for the great efforts all through the season. They all have made sure that the team was at its best all through the season,” said Mamic, whose team clinched a record 13th title in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) with one round still to spare earlier.
The Croatian then went on to urge his players to continue in the same vain so that they can cap their season with the second title beating Al Wasl in the finals.
“Certainly, our task in the final will not be easy. Our opponents will also be giving their best and do everything in their powers. We will analysis our competitor and respect their aspirations. However, we will try and do what is best in our interest to clinch the title. I’m confident of my boys,” said Mamic.