“By no means is this going to be an easy match for us. Bani Yas is a team that has shown steady performances with a core group of local players since the past three seasons now,” Sharjah coach Abdul Aziz Al Anbari admitted in his prematch chat. “This season, they have the services of some quality foreign professionals who have been making a difference at every game, and that explains why the team is in such a confident spirit and in the top half of the standings. Our main strategy will be to keep our focus and concentration at every instance so that we return home with full points.”
The defending AGL champions will start without Salem Sultan as the defender will have to sit out following three yellow cards against his name. His place will be taken by Abdullah Ghanem, who has played with the team in at least two matches earlier this season.
“It’s just a matter of believing in what we can do on the pitch. We have great confidence in all our players and we deserve to give every player an opportunity to prove himself,” Al Anbari said.
Sharjah’s attacking midfielder Luan Martins Pereira from Brazil who is enjoying a successful first season with The King was also confident of returning will three points. Sharjah has shown a lot of promise with the Brazilians trio of Pereira, Welliton Soares and Igor Coronado serving as the core of some delightful play this year.
“We work hard and with intensively and we know that we will be up against a strong competitor. But, as a team know the difficulty of the match and strive to come out with a positive result,” Pereira said. “I get along well with this group and I feel I am better this season. Adapting was one of the issues, but that is behind me now. I am focused more this season and the coach’s confidence has been a great motivation for me in trying to make every effort and help my team achieve positive results.”
In the other two matches on Thursday, 10-placed Al Dhafra will host bottom side Hatta in the early match, while second-placed Al Jazira will travel to ninth-placed Al Wasl in search of points and keeping the pressure on Sharjah.
Friday will also feature an interesting round of matches with eighth-placed Al Wahda travelling to a strong-looking traditional nemesis Kalba and 12th-placed Fujairah will host seventh-placed Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the early games. The late matches will see third-placed Al Nasr host a faltering 13-time former champions Al Ain in sixth place, while Khor Fakkan will make the short trip across to meet Ajman.
Al Dhafra v Hatta, 6pm
Bani Yas v Sharjah, 6pm
Al Wasl v Al Jazira, 9pm
Kalba v Al Wahda, 6pm
Fujairah v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, 6pm
Al Nasr v Al Ain, 9pm
Ajman v Khor Fakkan, 9pm
Original news source Credit: gulfnews.com