x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Al Ain cruise to a comfortable Asian Champions League win at home

Asamoah Gyan scored in the 16th and 73rd minute to pace Al Ain in their 3-1 victory over Tractor Sazi in an Asian Champions League match on Tuesday night, writes Amith Passela.

Asamoah Gyan scored in the 16th and 73rd minute to pace Al Ain in their 3-1 victory over Tractor Sazi in an Asian Champions League match on Tuesday night. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB
Asamoah Gyan scored in the 16th and 73rd minute to pace Al Ain in their 3-1 victory over Tractor Sazi in an Asian Champions League match on Tuesday night. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB

Al Ain 3 Tractor Sazi 1

Al Ain Gyan 16’, 73’, M Abdulrahman 38’

Tractor Sazi Fakhreddini 42’

Man of the match Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)

AL AIN // Zlatko Dalic’s second game in charge of Al Ain was not only a winning one, but took his team to the top of Group C in the Asian Champions League (ACL).

They bounced backed from a 2-1 defeat to Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia last week to win 3-1 over Tractor Sazi of Iran on Tuesday night at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

Asamoah Gyan opened the scoring and recorded an assist for Mohammed Abdulrahman to double the lead. Then the Ghanaian forward fired a second goal after Milad Fakhroddini had pulled one back for the visitors.

“Congratulations for my team,” Dalic said. “We played a good game. Maybe we didn’t have possession of the ball, but we played well and created our chances to score goals.

“After 2-0, we played a clean game, but our mistake was that we brought Tractor back into the game.

“I was a little afraid in the second half, because my team was tired, not really 100 per cent, but they are experienced players and played very well, maybe better than the first half.

“I think we need nine points [to qualify] for next round. We now have six and we need one more win in the next three games.

“Now we must be ready for the next round, it is our target. I know it will not be easy, but the two away games next against Tractor and Lekhwiya will solve everything.”

Al Ain could have won with a bigger margin had they converted half the chances they created.

“Last week, we played against Ittihad, we also played very well for the first 60 minutes, but then we lost concentration, we lost power and went down,” Dalic said.

“Tonight, they played very serious, very professional, in control all the game. They did not lose power and energy, like in Saudi. I hope my team now goes up, up every day.”

Al Ain opened the scoring on 16 minutes when Mirel Radoi floated a free kick for Fares Juma to head towards the goalmouth and Gyan got his head to the ball to direct it back toward the far post.

Ismail Ahmed hooked the ball back with a sliding effort and Gyan guided the ball in with a reflex action.

Gyan worked his way down the left before firing in a low cross for Abdulrahman, unmarked on the far post, to score off a deft shot for a 2-0 lead 21 minutes later.

Tractor reduced the deficit just before the break when the mercurial midfielder Ali Karimi rolled the ball from the centre of the pitch and Jazira failed to clear it, allowing Fakhroddini to make a steal and score after rounding Khalid Issa, the Al Ain keeper, to make a 2-1 at half time.

Omar Abdulrahman replaced his older sibling Mohammed in the 53rd minute and set up Gyan to regain the two-goal cushion with an excellent pass to split the Tractor defence as Al Ain moved to the top of Group C.

Tractor manager Toni Oliveira believes that Al Ain’s foreign contingent was the biggest difference between the two sides.

“We are the only team out of the 16 competing in the ACL not to have any foreigners in the side,” the Portuguese coach said. “So we need to try to win with what we have, without complaining.

“We have a small chance of going beyond the group stage and I think if we can win the three home games and win a point or two from the away games, we can make it to the next round.”

Al Ittihad captain sees red as Lekhwiya win 2-0 at home

Sebastian Soria and Nam Tae-hee scored on either side of half time for Lekhwiya to clinch a 2-0 home win on Tuesday night over Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia, who finished the game with 10 men.

Hamad Al Montashari, the Ittihad captain, was sent off after taking his protests with the referee too far after he had given away a penalty to the Qatari club late in the game.

The result took Lekhwiya’s tally to four points, two behind leaders Al Ain, while Al Ittihad slipped to the bottom of Group C after suffering their second loss in three games.

apassela@thenational.ae

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