Abu Dhabi: Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic had expressed his disappointment after Al Ain conceded an away goal in their 3-1 first-leg victory over Qatar’s El Jaish at home. However, on the eve of the return leg at the Lekhwiya Stadium, Doha, he brushed aside any worry and was upbeat about his team qualifying for the finals of the AFC Champions League.
“We have come to Doha in order to transit to the finals and the outcome of the first leg doesn’t matter. We aren’t looking too much on our first leg’s scoreline. We’re here to win the game and progress to the final,” said Dalic, whose team notched up the first leg win riding on an outstanding performance by captain Omar Abdul Rahman, who scored with a fine free-kick and was involved in settling up the other two goals.
However, a penalty conversion from Uzbekistan international Sardor Rashidov gave El Jaish a glimmer of hope going into the second leg. They can still make it through to finals on the basis of the away goal provided they score a 2-0 win at home.
“Al Jaish have a strong coach in Lamouchi. We’re expecting a strong game as Jaish have very good players like Romarinho, Sardor Rashidov and Majed Mohammed in their ranks. It’s an important game for both teams and we’re here to give it our all,” added Dalic, who is seeking to lead Al Ain to the final of the continental championship for first time since 2005.
“I think my players are well aware that we were in good position in the last three consecutive years but then couldn’t advance. Personally I’m confident in the technical abilities, strong personality, maturity and experience of my players. I’m sure if they can transform all that we can achieve the ambition and bring happiness for the masses in UAE,” added the Croatian.
Al Ain defender Saeed Al Menhali also revealed that the team was charged up for the encounter saying, “We are not afraid to confront El Jaish in their backyards. Both teams have equal opportunities to qualify for final and the one who commit fewest mistakes will win it. El Jaish has skilful players in defence and attack but we are confident about our ability.”
El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi, who side conceded a goal in the injury time to go down 1-3, said his players has put the first leg loss behind and were ready to give their best against Al Ain.
“The conditions are favourable for us. I’ve great confidence in my players and we’re going to achieve a positive result against Al Ain and book our first final berth,” said Lamouchi, who also revealed that he has done a detail study of the opponent and was vary of the class of Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdul Rahman.