x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Al Ain bid to bring forward Pro League title coronation to focus on Asian Champions League

The Pro League leaders could clinch the title on Thursday after asking to bring forward their match against Dubai, as Cosmin Olaroiu plays down link with a return to Saudi Arabia.

Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu wants their Pro League match with Dubai brought forward a day.
Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu wants their Pro League match with Dubai brought forward a day.

Al Ain have asked Dubai to agree to bring their Pro League game forward by a day, to Thursday night.

If their opponents agree, the Tahnoun bin Mohammed stadium will be elaborately decorated with the anticipation that Al Ain will be officially crowned the league champions for the second year in-a-row.

A win against Dubai would hand Cosmin Olariou's men the title.

"We haven't had any confirmation as yet from Dubai and we are hopeful they would agree," an official of the club said.

"The change of date is not mainly to hasten the celebrations, because we are not guaranteed of a win against Dubai.

"However, it will provide the players an extra day to prepare for an important away game against Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia [on April 23] in the Asian Champions League (ACL)."

Al Ain and Hilal are on six points each, one behind the leaders Esteghlal of Iran in Group D with two games left.

Olaroiu will want his players to seal the league title as quickly as possible to allow them to focus on the ACL.

Al Ain are 13 points ahead of second-placed Al Ahli, with five games remaining. Ahli host Al Wahda on Saturday.

Al Ain's coach said the weather and rising temperatures at this time of the year mean the players need more recovery time between matches.

"The changing weather is an important factor for the remainder of the season and we will try to rotate the players to get maximum performance out of them," Olaroiu said.

"We still have some important games ahead. Obviously we want to put the league behind us as quickly as possible and then look ahead to the ACL and the President's Cup matches."

Al Ain have six games in the next three weeks –  three league matches, meetings with Hilal and Esteghlal in the ACL and the President’s Cup semi-final against Ahli.

"As one of the top teams in the country and when we have to fight for many titles, we must try to double our efforts and cope up with a tight schedule," Olaroiu said.

"Our approach and strategy is to perform well and win every game. This attitude will not change."

Some reports have linked the Romanian, who previously coached Hilal, with a return to Saudi Arabia at the end of the season.

Olaroiu, however, dismissed those suggestions after his team’s 3-1 win at Kalba on Sunday.

“I have not received any offers from any team in Saudi Arabia and these are just rumours,” he said.

“I came to know about these offers from [Saudi clubs] Al Ahli and Al Hilal through the newspapers.“I am here at Al Ain and I want to win more trophies and championships with this team.”

 

apassela@thenational.ae

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