ABU DHABI // Though Al Ain may be struggling this season, Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, knows it is dangerous to write off the nine-time league champions who they face tonight at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
Al Ain were beaten 4-1 by Kalba, the Pro League's bottom team, in their last match and are eighth in the table, 13 points behind Jazira.
"Al Ain have always been strong opposition and their result against Kalba last week will not make them any different," Braga said. "We are expecting a strong game from them as always, and a possible backlash.
"It is normal for every team to come very hard at us because we are the top of the league table. Our strategies are very clear. We want to win every game we play and we are prepared for any kind of opposition."
Braga will be without Tony, the Ivorian forward, who was sent off against Al Shabab and serves a one-match ban. According to the coach, Ali Makhbout or Ahmed Jumaa will partner Bare, the Brazilian striker.
Meanwhile, Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, the Al Ain coach, said they were travelling with a full strength side and want to prove they are a better team than the previous result suggests.
"Our fans have every right to be angry after the defeat to Kalba and we want to put that straight with a good result against Jazira," the Emirati said.
Every Pro League team is in action tonight, the pick of the games being Al Ahli at home to neighbours Al Shabab in a Dubai derby.