AL AIN // The Pro League leaders got their Asian Champions League campaign off to a winning start when they came from a goal down to beat Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia 3-1.
Abdulla Al Dossary put the visitors ahead in the ninth minute before Omar Abdulrahman, Alex Brosque and Asamoah Gyan were on target for Al Ain at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed stadium last night.
The reigning Pro League champions could have added another had Mirel Radoi been on target with a penalty awarded for a foul on Brosque by Salem Al Dossary, for which the Hilal defender was sent off in the 54th minute.
Abdulla Al Sdairy, the Hilal goalkeeper, did well to block the Romanian’s spot kick.
“The first game is always important because it sets the tone for the remainder of the competition. So we are very pleased to get that behind us, said Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach:
“We played against a great team with a great history, they have good, skilled players. I think winning this match and the way we controlled the match is most important.
“We honoured UAE football and Al Ain fans today. I thank the players because they dominated the match despite Hilal scoring first.”
Abdulla Al Dossary gave the Saudis the lead when he tapped in a ball that fell into his path when Dawoud Sulaiman, the Al Ain keeper, attempted to clear a glancing header by Salem Al Dossary.
Omar Abdulrahman pulled the Garden City side level in the 27th minute when he volleyed a cross from his older brother Khaled into the net.
Brosque put Al Ain 2-1 up in opening minute of the second half when he volleyed home a cross from Omar Abdulraman and Gyan, who came in as a late substitute for Jires Kembo-Ekoko, sealed the victory with his injury-time strike.
Al Ain started offensively with Brosque just failing to latch on to a low cross from Kembo-Ekoko in the third minute.
Al Sdairy did well to hold on to a header from the Australian a few minutes later but after those two early scares it was the visitors who drew first blood although as the game progressed Al Ain showed their true quality, and even the opposition coach recognised that.
“They were a better team today than us,” said Zladco Dalic.
“We didn’t play well. We didn’t play fast, we didn’t keep the ball all game this was a big point for us.
“My players played well considering the fact they are coming after a tough game in the Crown Prince Cup final. This was a second game in a short time.”
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE