Dubai: Al Wasl coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena has told his Arabian Gulf League leaders to forget about records heading into their home tie with third from bottom Ajman on Thursday.
The Cheetahs are currently on a run of 23-games unbeaten across all competitions with their last defeat being a 3-2 league loss at home to Al Jazira in January, to whom they finished second in the league last season.
Al Jazira went on a domestic run of 25 unbeaten — 30 if you include their Asian Champions League matches — between March 2009 and January 2010.
“If we focus on getting close to breaking Al Jazira’s number of 25 games without loss, it will make us lose focus,” said the Argentine, who was part of Boca Junior’s 40-game unbeaten run between 1998 and 1999 as a player.
“We may commit many mistakes, and take care of other things that may distance ourselves from our primary goal of topping the league.
“I always remind the players of the great effort we have made to get this far and encourage them to do more because the journey is still long.”
Meanwhile, Ajman coach Ayman Al Rammadi, has said losing foreigners Azizbek Haydarov and Bakari Kone through injury and suspension, won’t affect his team.
“It’s not a problem for us because we have alternatives. We are not a one-star team. I’m confident those on the pitch and on the bench are level. We don’t have a basic player, everyone is the same.
“During Arabian Gulf Cup matches we pushed another group of players who we will rely on in the league for such circumstances, and everyone is ready.
“We respect Al Wasl and appreciate the great work they are doing as current league leaders, but we will play with courage because we respect ourselves and trust our capabilities.”
Elsewhere on Thursday, second — placed Al Ain are away to eighth-placed Dibba. And Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic said his team were fighting to get back to the top of the league by the halfway stage of the season after last week’s 2-2 home draw with Al Jazira.
“We will do all we can to win our remaining three matches of the first half of the season, but the most important thing is to end the league as a whole in first, not just the winter,” he said.
Dibba coach Paulo Comelli said: “There is a difference between us and Al Ain in terms of potential and aspirations, but I will ask our players to play quickly and aggressively. Now it’s harder to play them because their injured players have returned but we have prepared in the best way.”
Also on Thursday, third-placed Al Wahda are at home to seventh-placed Sharjah. And on Friday, sixth-placed defending champions Al Jazira are at home to second from bottom Emirates, bottom of the league Hatta are away to ninth-placed Al Dhafra, and fourth-placed Shabab Al Ahli are away to fifth-placed Al Nasr.
Arabian Gulf League fixtures
Dibba - Al Ain, 4.40pm
Al Wasl - Ajman, 4.45pm
Al Wahda - Sharjah, 7.45pm
Al Jazira - Emirates, 4.50pm
Al Dhafra - Hatta, 4.55pm
Al Nasr - Shabab Ahli, 7.45pm
Arabian Gulf League table
P W D L F A Df Pts
Al Wasl 8 6 2 0 17 7 10 20
Al Ain 8 5 3 0 18 10 8 18
Al Wahda 8 5 1 2 18 7 11 16
Shabab Ahli 8 3 4 1 13 5 8 13
Al Nasr 8 4 1 3 15 10 5 13
Al Jazira 8 2 4 2 11 12 -1 10
Sharjah 8 2 3 3 8 10 -2 9
Dibba 8 2 3 3 10 15 -5 9
Al Dhafra 8 1 4 3 10 14 -4 7
Ajman 8 2 1 5 8 13 -5 7
Emirates 8 1 1 6 11 20 -9 4
Hatta 8 1 1 6 10 26 -16 4