Foreign stars Jorge Valdivia and Marcio Emerson departed shortly before the campaign began and a long list of injuries and misfortune then dented any hopes.
Al Alin official blames bad form on departures
AL AIN // Dr Khalid Mohammed Abdullah, the chief executive of Al Ain, last night claimed bad luck and bad timing were the reasons for his club's poor showing in the first half of the season.
Foreign stars Jorge Valdivia and Marcio Emerson departed shortly before the campaign began and a long list of injuries and misfortune then dented any hopes they had of claiming the Pro League title.
"In football, we have to deal with the realities on the pitch," Abdullah said. "There are several reasons for the state we are in at the moment.
"We lost the two main foreign players at a crucial period, and then we had to cope with the injuries to the foreign players we signed to replace them. There were also injuries to the local players.
"We also didn't have any luck. We have reviewed all the games and in most cases we couldn't score from the chances we created. But even in some of the defeats, we have played technically better games."
Valdivia, the Chile playmaker, left Al Ain to return to his former club Palmeiras in Brazil, two weeks before the season kicked off. Emerson, the Brazilian forward, had left earlier, leaving them to find replacements at short notice.
Al Ain were also using their fourth-choice goalkeeper. Yousuf Abdulrahman was ruled out for the season after a serious car crash. Waleed Salem and Abdulla Sultan were also sidelined because of injuries.
Soufiane Alloudi, the Moroccan forward, was injured a week before the start of the season. Ibrahima Keita and Juma Saeed, the two foreign replacements, were sidelined with knocks during the first game of the season.
However, Abdullah is still hopeful Al Ain can pick up a trophy. "We don't have much of a hope in the Pro League, but we still have a good chance to win the President's Cup and the Etisalat Cup," he said.