Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai are banking on history and their will to succeed in getting the better of first-timers Sharjah Club at Al Nasr’s Al Maktoum Stadium in the one-off Arabian Gulf Super Cup, on Saturday.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena, who has been behind the resurgence of the club since taking over at the end of last season, was bullish about his team’s chances. The Al Ghusais team is among the few who have an unbeaten record following three matches of the Arabian Gulf Cup since the season kicked-off in the second half of last month.
But the 44-year-old Argentine coach felt the early trend of the season accounted for very little as Sharjah displayed a lot of improvement in their 5-0 drubbing of Ajman last week after two successive losses. “It will be very important that we win tomorrow as the result can affect the team. This win can set us up for the remainder of the season as a win will give us confidence and motivation to carry forward,” Arruabarrena told media.
“My feeling is that only the team that keeps total concentration throughout the 90 minutes will win tomorrow. The most important thing will be about what happens inside the field based on the experience of the players. I have been telling my players to enjoy the match without any pressure, and the result will automatically follow.”
The change in Shabab Al Ahli Dubai’s fortunes came with the appointment of Arruabarrena in place of Jose Sierra in the second half of the season. No doubt, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai lost to Sharjah on the two occasions they played in the AGL, but it was the young Argentine who ignited their campaign as they ended runners-up to the King while winning the Arabian Gulf Cup and the President’s Cup.
“We can’t wait too much on what happened last season. This is a totally different match as both the two teams have shown the will to win and succeed. Perhaps, it’s best that we don’t think that we lost to Sharjah twice during the league. We need to concentrate more on winning this time,” he said.
“It’s a one-off final and everyone is hungry to start the season with a trophy. This is going to be an engrossing match between the two best teams of last season. Both of us have no surprises and I hope it will be a good entertainment especially for the fans. But, that said, tomorrow will be tough for both teams and I hope we will be the better side.”
Al Nasr’s home ground has been a happy hunting ground for Shabab Al Ahli Dubai as they defeated the home team in all competitions last season. “That means very little as the main thing is that we will have to fight till the end. There is no point talking about luck as it will be a tough match against a strong team. We have to do our best so that we can win,” Arruabarrena said.
CATCH THE MATCH
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai v Sharjah
Al Maktoum Stadium
Match broadcast on Dubai Sports and Abu Dhabi Sports