Ahli keen to avenge cup loss to Al Ain

Olaroiu: Ri­valry is ‘most beau­ti­ful’ tie

The National - News - Sport - - FOOTBALL - John McAu­ley jm­[email protected]­ational.ae 7.40pm, AD Sports

DUBAI // Cos­min Olaroiu said his Al Ahli play­ers can use the sense of in­jus­tice from this week’s Pres­i­dent’s Cup de­feat to Al Ain as mo­ti­va­tion when the two sides meet in the cru­cial Ara­bian Gulf League tonight.

The UAE cham­pi­ons, fourth in the ta­ble, lost 3-1 to their ri­vals on Mon­day when a num­ber of con­tentious de­ci­sions went against them. They now take on Al Ain in the resched­uled fix­ture from Round 3 know­ing a pos­i­tive re­sult at the Hazza bin Zayed Sta­dium is re­quired to keep pace with clubs above them.

Ahli are one place and one point be­hind Al Ain, who still have two games in hand.

Al Jazira and Al Wasl, the joint lead­ers as the half­way stage comes to a close, are a far­ther three points bet­ter off.

Asked if his team can use the hurt of the cup de­feat to their ad­van­tage, Olaroiu, who also called for a stronger per­for­mance from the of­fi­cials, said: “What do you think? That these play­ers don’t see what’s hap­pen­ing, don’t re­alise what’s hap­pen­ing and they don’t feel what’s hap­pen­ing?

“The prob­lem is they train, they run, they do what­ever they can. We all make mis­takes. We can­not say we’re per­fect. We have prob­lems, but even with this, I don’t think it was pos­si­ble to lose. But the prob­lem is, and my hope is that we will not, lose con­fi­dence.

“They are frus­trated. Even I could not talk to them after the game be­cause they were so frus­trated they were cry­ing. This can af­fect their morale.

“We know ex­actly how they’re go­ing to play, ex­actly what to ex­pect from them. And we pre­pare this in train­ing. We know al­most ev­ery­thing.

“But you lose and af­ter­wards ev­ery­one says you don’t de­serve this. Yes, we don’t de­serve this, but we lost.”

Olaroiu said the most im­por­tant is­sue is find­ing 10 fully fit play­ers. Ahli are with­out the sus­pended Ever­ton Ribeiro and the in­jured Ro­drigo Lima among other con­cerns.

Olaroiu called for his team to show their tal­ent against Al Ain in what he said is “the most beau­ti­ful game” in UAE foot­ball, but dis­missed the idea that Ahli’s chances of re­tain­ing their ti­tle will be ex­tin­guished if they lose.

“It is very dif­fi­cult to say it is. Many peo­ple try to say things to put pres­sure. No­body can say now when the first part of the league fin­ishes that ev­ery­thing is de­cided or not.”

Mean­while, Al Ain man­ager Zlatko Dalic said: “We are well aware that our task is not easy, es­pe­cially since Ahli are look­ing to com­pen­sate for the loss and the cup exit to us.

“We will fight to get three points and reach 29 points to strengthen our po­si­tion in the ta­ble.”

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