AL AIN // The Garden City side were counting the cost of a missed penalty last night as they went down 1-0 to Seoul in their opening match of the Asian Champions League.
Elias, the Brazilian striker, had the chance to level the score for the Pro League side in the 67th minute after Ali al Wehaibi was brought down in the area by Kim Dong Jin but his spot kick was saved by Kim Jong Dae, the FC Seoul goalkeeper.
However, Alexandre Gallo, the Al Ain coach said: "I can't blame any player or for the missed penalty. These things happen in football and we have to take it on our chin and carry on with the work for the next game."
Al Ain went behind to the Korean league champions through a 25th-minute strike from the Serbian Dejan Damjanovic at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed stadium.
But Gallo was able to take a lot of positives from the game for a team struggling in the relegation zone in the Pro League
"It was a very good performance from a team very low in confidence," the Brazilian said. "We raised the level in this game and we were unlucky not to have shared a point.
Al Ain enjoyed a major share of the possession and territory in the second half. Haddaf Al Ameri had a couple of opportunities to test the Seoul goalkeeper, but his efforts were weak and Kim had no difficulty in holding on to them.
It was Seoul's first competitive game of the season as their new campaign does not kick off until Sunday and their tactics were based on defence.
"It is a very good result for us, being the first game of the season," Hwangbo Kwan, the FC Seoul coach, said.
"My team played well. We scored first and preserved the lead. It was a good all-round performance with a lot of new players. Al Ain pushed us hard in the second half but we defended well and the goalkeeper did well to save a spot kick. I can't be happier with the outcome on the night."
The visitors were the better side in the first half. Mauricio Molina, the Colombian making his debut for Seoul, was wide with a volley from 12 yards off a dipping cross from Lee Kyuro from the right flank. Omar Abdulrahman broke inside the box immediately after but his powerfully struck shot hit the side of the net.
The goal arrived when Kim floated a pass from his own half and Damjanovic collected the ball on the run and he scored from one-on-one with Dawoud Sulaiman, the goalkeeper.