The UAE Cup final is scheduled to be held between Al Wahda and Shabab Al Ahli at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Friday at 20:30.
Al Wahda defeated Emirates Club 5-0 in the quarter-final before overpowering Bani Yas 4-1 in the semi-final. On the other hand, Shabab Al Ahli defeated Al Jazira 4-2 and beat Al Nasr on penalties after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Here’s why you should be watching the final showdown:
1- HISTORICAL RIVALRY
Shabab Al Ahli and Al Wahda have the biggest number of UAE Cup titles. Since the inception of the competition in the 2008/09 season, Shabab Al Ahli won the title three times (2012, 2014 and 2017), while Al Wahda were named champions twice (2016 and 2018).
The other five titles were distributed over Al Ain (2009), Al Jazira (2010), Al Shabab (2011), Ajman (2013) and Al Nasr (2015).
If the Clarets win, they’ll equal Shabab Al Ahli’s record of three titles and will be the first team to win the title for two years in a row. However, if Shabab Al Ahli emerge victorious, they’ll extend their record to four titles.
2- POOR RESULTS
As both teams are technically out of the league race, winning the Cup title would offer some consolation for any of the two sides.
Al Wahda, who finished second in the league last season struggled in the 2018/19 campaign. After a poor run of results, they decided to fire Laurențiu Reghecampf and appointed Henk ten Cate instead. They now sit fifth on 27 points, 16 behind Sharjah.
On the other hand, Shabab Al Ahli are fourth on 32 points, 11 behind the leaders.
3- STRONG OFFENSE
The game between Shabab Al Ahli and Al Wahda is expected to witness a double dose of excitement.
The Clarets netted 18 goals in eight cup games, while Shabab Al Ahli have 11 out of a total of 133 goals scored in the competition so far.
The final match is expected to witness a lot of goals with the presence of players such as Al Wahda’s Sebastián Tagliabué and Leonardo da Souza and Shabab Al Ahli’s Ahmed Khalil and Henrique Luvannor.
4- TEN CATE VS ARRUABARRENA
Al Wahda are managed by experienced Dutch coach Henk ten Cate. The Clarets’ results improved under his leadership and he helped the team reach the cup final.
Although Rodolfo Arruabarrena has been coaching for eight years only, he proved he’s an excellent coach. Shabab Al Ahli’s results improved drastically during his reign.
5- NEW TECHNOLOGICAL SERVICES
The final match will see new technological services, including “Player’s View”. It’s a new technology that will be applied for the first time in the Arab world in cooperation with Sponix – a company specialized in sport broadcasting technology. This technique shows the point-of-view scene for players in key moments of a match. The footage will be broadcast on the official pages of the PLC on social networking websites.