Dubai: After his youthful team thumped arch-rivals Al Jazira 4-0, in Round Two of the Arabian Gulf Cup late on Saturday, coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena said the future of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai is in safe hands.
With young Mohammad Juma as the pivot upfront, the home side opened the scoring on the 26th minute when their Brazilian-Moldovan striker Henrique Luvannor struck, while Juma added a second 10 minutes into the second half.
New South African recruit Thulani Caleb Serrero (58th minute) and Ahmad Abdullah rounded off the scoring in the 65th minute.
“This means we are on the right path and our youngsters are making the right contribution to our success,” Arruabarrena told Gulf News. “Our future is secure because, when the seniors return from international duty, these junior players will be competing for their places.”
Top of Group A
Saturday’s win took the defending champions to the top of Group A, with four points and a better goal difference compared to second-placed Al Nasr — who were held goalless by debutants Khor Fakkan in Kalba in Saturday’s earlier match.
Meanwhile, Group B is headed by Al Wahda with a perfect two-game record of six points.
“We are working to win all matches. Perhaps, tonight we were lucky because Al Jazira didn’t score and we did. But to me, the important thing is that we didn’t concede a goal. This big result doesn’t mean we are better than Al Jazira. There is still a lot of hard work to be done in the upcoming matches. We need to stay grounded,” Arruabarrena cautioned.
“But I am happy the juniors are playing well. I want to give them the confidence and they have done well to repay me by competing well with the big players. We need to give the them these opportunities as they are the future of the team. Once the national team members return, we will see which one of these youngsters can fit in,” he added.
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai’s next match will be a visit to Al Nasr Stadium for their Round 3 match on September 7, followed by their one-off clash against Arabian Gulf League champions Sharjah a week later at the same venue.
The third action of the Arabian Gulf Cup will be played next weekend with Al Jazira hosting Al Ain on September 6 and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai making the short trip to the Al Maktoum Stadium to take on Al Nasr on September 7.
(Week Two of Arabian Gulf Cup)
Hatta 3 Al Wasl 4
Kalba 2 Al Dhafra 3
Fujairah 2 Ajman 2
Sharjah 1 Al Wahda 3
Khor Fakkan 0 Al Nasr 0
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 4 Al Jazira 0