Al Ain players attend a training session ahead of their match against Al Dhafra.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Al Ain will look to extend winning streak and close gap on leaders Sharjah with win over Al Dhafra in their tenth round match of the Arabian Gulf League on Thursday.
Coach Ivan Liko is wary of Al Dhafra challenge and warned his team against the danger of their rival’s attack line, who are currently sitting at the ninth place in the table.
“We will face a strong team on the offensive level, they have a strong attack line with three players who are able to score goals and win matches at any moment,” said Liko.
He added: “The goal is very clear. We have to maintain the winning the momentum after notching up a well-deserved victory against Ajman in the last match.”
Al Ain ended their three-game winless run with victory against Ajman in their last match after three consecutive draw to revive their bid for the AGL title.
He also urged fans to come and support the team in upcoming matches as they need it the most because of being are under pressure due to tight fixtures.
“For me, I am busy with my team’s performance only. I always look at achieving results. I do my job here.”
And the Croatian continued: “The important thing is always to achieve victories. We in the Al Ain team win together and lose together.
“The foundation is the players. For me, my role is to help the players to give the best possible performance. I would like to thank the fans and the board of directors for the support they provide to the players.
Regarding the injuries in team, the coach indicated that they will miss the efforts of striker Mohamed Khalfan until the end of the season because of the injury, and said: “There is also Ryan Yassem, who has not played any games since the beginning of the season. He is an important player in the squad and we expect a lot from him.
“Mohammed Shaker also started a gradual comeback. As for Bandar Al Ahbabi, we will see in the coming days what can be done with him. Generally, we hope to restore the winning combination,” added the coach. In the another match on day one of the matchweek 10, Al Nasr will take on Hatta at the Hamdan Bin Rashid Stadium. Al Nasr coach Krunoslav Jurcic said: “Every game is a new challenge. I have some information about Hatta. They are a very good team and playing a firebrand football since the start of the season with their distinguished set of players and under new coach. They seem to know us very well.”
Speaking about Alvaro Negredo, Jurcic continued: “He will be absent from the team in the upcoming match against Hatta. It is possible that he might return to play against Shabab Al Ahli in the President’s Cup.
“Both Alvaro Negredo and Mohand Khamis will miss the match, and but in all cases we have an abundant group of good players who are able to compensate their absences.”
Jurcic added: “We had some time to talk about the Sharjah match and analyze it. I talked with the players and told them that we played a very good match against Sharjah. If we continue at this level in the next games with some minor errors adjusted, we will achieve something big at the end of the season.
Jurcic continued his speech by saying: “We have distinguished alternatives who are able to compensate Negredo like Salem Saleh and Muhammad Al Akbari, but the problem is not in their quality, but in their lack of preparation because of injuries and also because they have not had the opportunity to participate in the past.”
Yorcic concluded his speech by saying: “The Hatta match is a difficult and powerful test for the technical staff and players.”
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