Al Ain bank­ing on ‘Brazil­ian Amoory’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

DUBAI:

Al Ain will look to star play­maker Omar Ab­dul­rah­man as they bid to snatch vic­tory from Jeon­buk Hyundai Mo­tors in the sec­ond leg of the AFC Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal to­day. Top-rated Ab­dul­rah­man, known as “Amoory” will be a key man as the Emi­ratis strive to over­come a 2-1 deficit against South Korea’s Jeon­buk at their home sta­dium in UAE. Brazil­ian hit­man Leonardo hit a siz­zling sec­ond-half dou­ble to give Jeon­buk the edge in last week’s first leg, af­ter Ab­dul­rah­man bril­liantly set up Al Ain’s opener. Leonardo said shaggy-haired Ab­dul­rah­man, who has drawn in­ter­est from Manch­ester City, Barcelona and Ar­se­nal, played with all the free­dom of a Brazil­ian-but warned he wasn’t Al Ain’s only dan­ger­man.

“Omar Ab­dul­rah­man is like a Brazil­ian, an in­cred­i­ble player with great qual­ity,” said the Jeon­buk for­ward, ac­cord­ing to the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion web­site.”He’s per­formed with dis­tinc­tion for Al Ain and for his na­tional team, and the fact that there are many big clubs af­ter him is ev­i­dence enough of his abil­ity. “But we have to fo­cus not only on him, Al Ain have other dan­ger­ous play­ers who we must pre­pare for. As a team, I don’t be­lieve they are very dif­fer­ent from us in terms of the setup and play­ing style, we just have to be care­ful.” Ex­pec­ta­tions are high for Ab­dul­rah­man, who will try to help Al Ain win their sec­ond Asian ti­tle and, next week, is fa­vorite to be named Asia’s player of the year at an awards show in Abu Dhabi.

‘Beau­ti­ful foot­ball’

Ab­dul­rah­man was anony­mous in last week’s first half in Jeonju but he came alive af­ter the break, forc­ing a fine save be­fore he held off three de­fend­ers to set up Danilo Asprilla’s opener. It looked to have turned the game but Leonardo equal­ized with a rocket from out­side the box be­fore he calmly con­verted a penalty to put Jeon­buk in the driv­ing seat.

Colom­bia’s Asprilla warned the fi­nal wasn’t over yet and said Al Ain still ex­pected to be crowned Asia’s club cham­pi­ons in front of their home fans. “On our own pitch, at home, we can play our game-our beau­ti­ful foot­ball and we have con­fi­dence we can get the re­sult we want,” he said. “I be­lieve in my­self and my team-mates that we can get the win at home and can lift the AFC Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle.” How­ever, Jeon­buk’s at­tack­ing tri­dent of Leonardo, Kim Shin-Wook and Ri­cardo Lopes re­main a real threat and Al Ain will do well to keep them quiet for 90 min­utes.

Leonardo’s dou­ble put him on 10 goals for the com­pe­ti­tion, a hat-trick away from equal­ing the all-time record of 13 shared by Guangzhou Ever­grande’s Muriqui and Adri­ano of FC Seoul. “We have to play in­tel­li­gently in to­day’s game and we have to work hard and work to­gether to en­sure we can se­cure the vic­tory we need,” Leonardo said. “The AFC Cham­pi­ons League is ev­ery­thing we’ve worked to­wards this year, not just this year, but ever since los­ing the 2011 fi­nal. “Now that we have this op­por­tu­nity we have to give our lives to win this game. — AFP

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