Al Wahda striker Sebastian Tagliabue confident league leaders can maintain title challenge

Matt Jones 07:35 02/12/2014
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Fan favourite: Sebastian Tagliabue enjoys a National Day celebration with local schoolchildren at Al Wahda’s stadium on Monday.

Sebastian Tagliabue is confident Al Wahda can break the chain of dominance held by Arabian Gulf League’s big three teams and win the title this season.

Wahda are top of the table, hav­ing enjoyed a near flawless start to the 2014/15 campaign, picking up from their strong finish to last sea­son. Jose Peseiro’s men are a point above Abu Dhabi rivals Al Jazira while champions Al Ahli lie seventh and Al Ain, back to back winners in 2012 and 2013, are sixth.

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Wahda are the only team not to lose a game in the league this sea­son, winning five and drawing four.

They maintained their unbeaten record with a 1-1 draw against city rivals Jazira on Sunday evening, although they were indebted to a late Hussain Fadel equaliser in injury time after Mirko Vucinic had broken the deadlock minutes ear­lier.

Argentine Tagliabue, 29, has five goals to his name this term, but although he says the team are per­forming well, he believes he can perform better individually.

The striker was speaking at a specially organised UAE National Day football match between play­ers from the three Abu Dhabi AGL teams and 172 schoolchildren at Wahda’s Al Nayan Stadium yester­day.

He said: “The players are confi­dent that we can win the title. We can win every game and we can beat every team.

“We are working for this and we will fight this season to ensure we take the championship. We will try.”

Tagliabue, who signed for the Clarets in June 2013 from Saudi Arabian Premier League giants Al Shabab, acknowledged that the trio of Al Jazira, Al Ain and Al Ahli are the strongest teams in the UAE, but they should beware of the league leaders.

“Al Ahli, Al Ain and Al Jazira are the best teams in the UAE, but this is normal. They always have big for­eign players and the best local play­ers too,” he said.

“They always have the pressure to become champions but this year I think Al Wahda can fight with them and these teams need to watch out for Al Wahda.”

While his team are in impressive form, Tagliabue believes there is room for improvement personally.

“We’re having a good season,” he said. “The team is first at the moment but I know I have to score more because we have played nine games and I only have five goals, so I have to score more.

“I’m happy with the team and the performance of the team, but personally I’m not 100 per cent happy.”

Speaking about the light-hearted kick-about with the local children, Tagliabue added: “It’s special for the kids, they want to play with us.

“It takes a bit of the stress out of the games we’re playing and we can enjoy it.

“It’s important to mingle with them, important to show what a football life is like, because it’s amazing and one of the best life­styles in the world.” 

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