Despite two convincing victories over Sharjah this season, Al Wahda coach Javier Aguirre has warned his players against complacency in Wednesday’s President’s Cup semi-final as they look to resurrect hopes of ending the season on a high.
The Clarets will travel to Al Nasr’s Al Maktoum Stadium with high hopes of reaching a first final since 2010/11 having gained the upper hand in both Arabian Gulf League meetings against Jose Peseiro’s men with crushing 7-1 and 5-1 wins. But it’s been a frustrating campaign for the Abu Dhabi outfit, who sit fifth in the league and saw their Arabian Gulf Cup defence and AFC Champions League campaign end in the group stages.
An emphatic 6-0 drubbing of last season’s President’s Cup winners and AGL champions-elect Al Jazira in the quarter-finals means the competition remains their only hope of silverware and is also a possible route into next year’s premier continental club competition.
Aguirre played down suggestions there is pressure on his team to claim just a second-ever title and their first since 2000 but acknowledged the importance of the match for the club.
“It’s the most important game of the year because it’s the last competition we can win,” said the 58-year-old Mexican.
“We are 90 minutes away from reaching the final and the whole team is ready. We don’t have any pressure. We know Al Wahda have won just one President’s Cup. There would be pressure if we won more, but 17 years have passed and we have the same pressure as Sharjah.”
The King – joint record champions of the President’s Cup with eight crowns – enter the game unbeaten in their last three matches. And former Wahda coach Peseiro is optimistic his team, who stunned Al Wasl 4-2 in the last eight, are capable of reaching their first final since 2006.
“There is every possibility we can win,” said the Portuguese. “We were beaten by them twice in the league but we can defeat them. Al Wahda are a strong side with a very good coach who played in the Champions League. But this won’t affect our confidence.”
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