DUBAI // Al Ain may have delayed the signing of their Asian player until the very end of the transfer window but, judging by the start made by Alex Brosque, the Australian playmaker, it was well worth the wait.
The new recruit joined the club only two weeks ago from the Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse, yet he has made a mockery of those who claim it takes months to acclimatise to the unique environs of UAE football, scoring a hat-trick last night in the Etisalat Cup victory against Dubai.
It was Brosque's second game for Al Ain; the first, at home to Al Dhafra on Friday, yielded a debut goal and an assist. The player, though, says even he has been surprised by his early prolificacy.
"It's always a bit difficult, not only for the player but for his teammates too, when someone comes into a club when the season has already started," Brosque said."But games like this and the one at the weekend help [you] get into a bit of a rhythm and understand how the team plays, and vice versa.
"I'm just happy with the start I've made and I'm hopeful I can continue. I'm thankful the club have brought me here and are prepared to use me in a more attacking role. Now, I have to score more goals and repay that faith."
The money spent on Brosque, believed to be around US$1 million (Dh3.67m), already appears to represent good value.
The 28 year old was the standout performer among a largely second-string side at the Dubai Sports and Cultural Club Stadium, netting a quick opener with a crisp, left-footed finish.
Richard Porta equalised for the hosts on 26 minutes, the striker scoring a fifth goal in five games. However, Brosque restored Al Ain's advantage six minutes into the second half, coolly slotting home a penalty after Mohammed Ismail was harshly sent off for handball. Brosque then completed his hat-trick just after the hour, before Mohammed Abdulrahman, a second-half substitute, sealed the victory with a close-range volley.
Simon Pierre Feindouno pulled a goal back for Dubai from the penalty spot, yet it was Cosmin Olaroiu, the visiting coach, who left content that the absence of key players to international duty did not affect the result.
"I wanted to give a chance for more players to get a game, so all my players stay at the same level and same mentality," he said.
"It's helped me for the next match against Al Wahda and now all attention turns to that."
Of Brosque, he added: "Alex showed today that he is ready. He scored, but that's not the only important thing for me: it's his movement and how he's running. He displayed his level and his character. He's a good option for us."
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