Ajman said they were surprised and disappointed that they were informed Ibrahima Toure, their star striker, had to be left out of their match with Al Wahda only 24 hours before the game in Abu Dhabi due to a an offence committed at his previous club.
The Pro League club were told by the Asian Football Confederation that Toure, who has scored in every one of Ajman's nine games this season, would be suspended for two matches following an incident while paying for Sepahan, the Iran team, in the Asian Champions League.
Abdul Wahab Abdul Kader, the Ajman coach, could not shed any light on exactly what the offence was but he struggled to hide his feelings at having to be without his leading scorer against Wahda in a game they lost by a single goal.
"We received the communique from the AFC a day before the game and all our plans went out of the window," Abdul Kader said.
"We are not a big team like Barcelona to find a replacement for an important player. Toure's absence was deeply felt tonight. We were surprised and disappointed of the AFC's decision because it came so suddenly.
"He has already played seven games for us and we can't understand why it had to come ahead of an important game."
Josef Hickersberger, the Al Wahda coach, was relieved the Senegalese striker was not in the opposition line-up. "We were very lucky Ajman didn't have Toure in their line-up," Hickersberger said, "He would have made it very difficult for us."
Abdul Kader said the loss of Toure was keenly felt as Ajman created plenty of chances.
"We had several chances to score early but we didn't take them and suffered at the end," he said. "We can't afford to do that against teams like Wahda. Ismail Matar we all know is one of the top quality players and he scored a wonderful goal to take the game away from us.
"However, I am very pleased with my players and the results we have achieved so far. It is still too early to say where we would end up but our objective is to remain in the top flight competition."
Hickersberger acknowledged his team were not at their best in the first half but played a lot better of the interval, winning the game with a 76th-minute goal from Ismail Matar.
"I don't want to talk about the first half," he said. "Ajman have transformed into a very good team and our players failed to realise that. We were much better in the second half yet we couldn't score from the several chances we created. Of course at the end we won and that was more important."
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