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Mahdi Ali feels the team that is more focused with a calm composure will have the advantage in the final, the Shabab Al Ahli coach said while addressing the press conference on the eve of the Pro League Cup final against Al Ain. Image Credit: Courtesy: UAE PL

Abu Dhabi: Defending champions Shabab Al Ahli head coach Mahdi Ali insisted his side will bank on their rich experience to defend the title as they take on Al Ain in the Pro League Cup final at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium at Al Jazira Club in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

“We want to achieve a positive result in the Pro League Cup final, especially because it is the only competition we are competing for this season, and all the players, the technical and administrative staff in Shabab Al Ahli are determined to reach their target,” said Ali at a press conference on the eve of the final on Tuesday. The defending champions will be without Majed Hassan, who will miss the final as he faces a long layoff due to injury sustained in the AFC Champions League. The head coach also said the decision to play Federico Cartabia will be taken later.

Speaking at the pre-match conference, Ali stressed that small details always decide the finals, and the team that is more focused and calmer will be closer to the title.

Familiar teams

“Luck plays an important role in these encounters and I hope it will be on our side to win tomorrow’s clash,” he added.

“We have played several matches in the last period, and the starting line-up will have no surprises as both teams know each other very well. Hopefully, he [Majed Hassan] will be ready to play for the national team next month,” the Shabab Al Ahli manager explained.

He noted that the final is totally different game to ADNOC Pro League’s matches. “We rotate the starting XI to ensure some players are ready and giving rest for the others after their great effort in the AFC Champions League. We have a great experience in finals and playing against Al Ain three days ago does not give an advantage to either team,” he added.

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Al Ain coach Sergiy Rebrov says his team will not read too much in the recent victory over Shabab Al Ahli in the ADNOC Pro League and will focus solely on the final. Image Credit: Courtesy: UAE PL

“I hope we put on a good performance that befits the event, and I wish all the best luck to my team,” concluded Ali.

Al Ain manager Sergiy Rebrov stressed the special importance of winning the Pro League Cup final for his team and Al Ain fans.

Rebrov said: “It is not easy to play every three days, but our goal is clear, and we will adopt a rotation policy among the players in the next stage,”

Commenting on his team’s victory in the last clash against Shabab Al Ahli in the ADNOC Pro League, he said: “The league match is over now, and my focus is only on the final.

Highest attention

“We always need the support of Al Ain fans, as they are the main stimulator of the team during all matches. I told my players on the need to forget their latest league victory over Shabab Al Ahli and pay the highest attention to winning the League Cup final,” he added.

The Ukrainian coach reiterated that he has complete confidence in his side players to claim the Pro League Cup title, noting that he had made some changes in the team’s starting line-up. “I think we are favourites to win the ADNOC Pro League and the Pro League Cup titles, but the most important thing for us right now is to focus and commit to our style on the pitch, especially since we worked on analysing the performance in the last encounter,” the coach said.

“We are well aware that the opponent team has good players, but, as I said before, I have great confidence in my Al Ain players,” concluded Rebrov.

Rahimi: Meeting fans' expectations

Al Ain winger Soufiane Rahimi reiterated his side’s desire to live up to the expectations of the fans by winning the Pro League Cup title.

“Both teams have equal chances going into the final, but we are well prepared. Our objective is clear in all matches,” concluded the Moroccan while calling on Al Ain fans to attend the final in numbers.

Shabab Al Ahli defender Salmin Khamis said: “The match is a special one and the presence of fans of both teams adds joy and excitement to the occasion.”