Latest round of Arabian Gulf Cup is headlined by repeat of last season's final between Al Wahda and Al Wasl
Al Wasl boss Gustavo Quinteros has embraced the “very important” challenge presented by Al Wahda on Sunday when last term’s Arabian Gulf Cup final is repeated in the current edition’s group stage.
The nine-man Clarets held on to secure a famous 2-1 victory when the clubs met in March’s rollercoaster showpiece. This painful result extended an 11-year domestic trophy drought for the vanquished outfit, then led by Rodolfo Arruabarrena.
His successor – also born in Argentina, but whom chose to represent Bolivia as a player – will now hope to improve on last week’s goalless draw against promoted Ittihad Kalba when Group A kicked off.
“Al Wasl has a very important game with Al Wahda, which is one of the major teams in the UAE and has a great technical stability,” said Quinteros, 53, of opponents who won 1-0 at Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club.
“Between the two teams, the Gulf Cup is very important for Wasl.”
The Cheetahs will be without centre midfielders Khamis Esmail and Ali Salmeen, who are on UAE duty.
Meanwhile, a familiar face will return to the dugout for Kalba when they host Ajman.
Ex-AC Milan midfielder Fabio Viviani, 51, is back for a second stint in charge of the Tigers. This follows the exit of Jorvan Vieira, 64, after just one Arabian Gulf League fixture – a 6-2 thrashing by expected title challengers Wahda.
“I did not stop following the UAE league during my time in Italy,” said Viviani, who previously won just two of 11 top-flight fixtures with the yo-yo outfit from August-December 2016.
Spanish forward Pedro Conde has hailed the convivial atmosphere at Bani Yas ahead of Dibba Al Fujairah’s visit.
Conde, 30, struck the equaliser in the First Division League champions’ 1-1 AGL opener at Fujairah.
“It has been like one family since my first moment with the team,” said August’s addition from Greece’s PAS Giannina.