Toninho Cerezo was left in no doubt about the size of the task he will face in his new role as Al Ain manager after seeing his side crumble to a 3-1 defeat against Al Wasl. The Brazilian watched from the stands as the caretaker coach Rasheed Ibrahim took charge, and he acknowledged that there was a lot of work to be done if his new team are to be challenging for the title in May.
"We have a lot of matches to play and still stand a chance to win the league," the former Al Shabab coach said. "We will watch the replays of this game and see where we need to improve. There were also some players like Jorge Valdivia absent because of injury, and the midfield was a bit shaky without him." Al Ain fired Winfried Schaefer after two years in charge, following two defeats in two weeks which left them faltering in the Pro League and out of the President's Cup. But the removal of the German failed to spark an improvement against Wasl, who claimed their third victory in a row.
Shehab Ahmed put Al Ain ahead in the 22nd minute with a dipping free-kick from the right flank, but that was as good as it got for them as Wasl levelled on the stroke of half-time through Isam Darwish from 30 yards. Marcio Emerson was unfortunate to see his effort from the edge of the box crash against the woodwork early in the second half for Al Ain, and Wasl went in front for the first time with 20 minutes to go through the Brazilian Alexandre Oliveira before Darwish added his second with five minutes to go to wrap up the game.
Al Ain are fourth in the league, eight points behind the leaders Al Jazira. Team administrator Majid al Owais admitted the team's display had been poor against Wasl. "We made a lot of mistakes in this game," he said. "We didn't pass the ball well; the midfield and the defence didn't play well. It was a pressure game but we will come back." firstname.lastname@example.org