23 january 2019
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Henry Winter

Alan Hansen



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Makhete Diop: We aim to reach the Semis and avoid an upset

Lauren Doble
Senegalese striker Makhete Diop says his Al Dhafra side have every intention of avoiding falling victim to a Cup upset, as they welcome Ajman to the Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Stadium for Sunday’s President’s Cup Quarter Final, kicking off at 7:45pm. Having overcome Fujairah in an intense 7-6 penalty shoot-out to reach this stage, Al Dhafra can make it to their second President’s Cup Semi Final if they manage to defeat Ajman, who knocked out Abu Dhabi giants Al Jazira with a late 3-2 win at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium to book their place in the Quarter Finals.
Speaking ahead of the game, Diop gave credit to the opponents but insists he and his teammates are not afraid of coming up against the giant-killing side. “Ajman have the same chance to qualify to the Semi Finals as us, simply because we are playing football, and in this one-off game you cannot know who the winner will be until the referee blows the final whistle,” Diop said, speaking exclusively to uaefa.ae. “Ajman showed strong character in their last game against Al Jazira, even though they were relegated from the Arabian Gulf League, so of course we respect them and what they are capable of, but that doesn’t mean we fear them,” he continued.
Following a nerve-wracking Round of 16 clash with Fujairah, Diop is also hopeful that the result of Sunday’s Quarter Final can be resolved within 90 minutes, adding: “Our last match was a difficult one for everyone; it was breathtaking right until the end and we don’t want to go through the same stressful situation again. We will definitely be aiming to finish the game against Ajman within normal time and avoid going to extra time and penalties.”



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