x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Abdulla blames fatigue

The Al Ain goalkeeper Motaz Abdulla blamed the hectic schedule for his team's poor performance with the bottom placed club Al Khaleej.

AL AIN // The Al Ain goalkeeper Motaz Abdulla blamed the hectic schedule for his team's poor performance with the bottom placed club Al Khaleej. The Championship hopefuls struggled to a 2-1 win courtesy of an own goal from Ibrahim Eid in Saturday's Pro League at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium. "February has been the most difficult month where we had to play eight matches starting with a President's Cup quarter final that dragged for 120 minutes," said the ex UAE international. "And we had 3 to 4 days to prepare for the rest of the games. "The players had hardly any time to recover. They had to fight fatigue and injuries. We are even running out of the strength on the bench. This match with Khaleej is our third in a week. And these teams come very hard on us because they got nothing to lose.

"Yet, we have done well. We have won 10 league points from a possible 12, and the two President's Cup games to reach the final. I'm glad we got through this period admirably well and the three was what mattered with Khaleej." The nine-time league champions are in contention for all three trophies - the Pro League, the Etisalat Cup and the President's Cup. And Abdulla felt the worst is over for them with a week before they travel to Dubai for the next match with the defending champions Al Shabab. The Senegalese Andre Senghor cancelled Khaleej's lead on the hour and Ibrahim Eid headed a cross from the Brazilian Andre Diaz on to his own goal after Mohammed Malallah had put the visitors ahead in the 18th minute. The coach Winfried Schaefer admitted the early goal from Khaleej put his players under severe pressure. "This game was similar to the President's Cup semi-final with Al Dhafra," he said. "We allowed them to score first and gave them the confidence. And then we started missing the chances that came our way and the pressure kept mounting. I am gad we returned with full points at the end." apassela@thenational.ae