x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Alexandre Gallo thinks ACL win will boost Al Ain for rest of season

The Brazilian coach eyes steering clear of relegation from the Pro League and success in the Etisalat Cup final on April 29 after their 1-0 win against Hangzhou.

AL AIN // Alexandre Gallo, the Al Ain coach, feels his team’s triumph over Hangzhou Greentown in the Asian Champions League (ACL) has not only kept his team’s chances alive in the competition but given them a massive confidence boost for their upcoming domestic matches.

Omar Abdulrahman scored the only goal in Al Ain’s win against the Chinese club at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed stadium last night to take their tally to four points in Group F, three behind Nagoya Grampus of Japan and South Korea’s FC Seoul.

“We had the game under our control and deserved to win,” said Gallo. “We needed this result not only to keep our chances alive in the ACL but to give us confidence for the remainder of the season.

“It was a very important win for us for us because we can take this confidence forward to our next domestic match against the second placed Baniyas in the Pro League on Sunday and the Etisalat Cup final on April 29.”

Al Ain are lagging 10th and just above the relegation zone in the 12-team league with six matches to play but still have a chance to win the Etisalat Cup.

Gallo said his team played good football and could have scored more had they taken even half the chances they created.

“We could have won by a bigger margin but I am not complaining,” added the Brazilian, who replaced Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, the Emirati coach, in January.

“If I have to analyse the game then we played very good football. Now I will tell my men to relax and recover because we want to finish the season as high as possible in the league and win the Etisalat Cup.

“We have been playing quite well in the past few games but didn’t get the desired result. But things looked better and I hope it will turn brighter for us from now. We were missing a few players today, but all in all the team did well to go and win the game.”

Wu Jingui, the Hangzhou coach, cited a lack in personnel for his team’s defeat. 

“We had a few problems because of some injuries but I think we played well in the first half,” he said. “But in the second they scored and we found it difficult to match them.

“We missed [defender] Rong Hao and [midfielder] Shen Longyuan. They are very good in creating opportunities, but they were unavailable for an important match.

“We defended in the first half and we intended to attack in the second but they scored before us which made it difficult for us to come back into the game. They not only scored but kept on attacking us and it was a surprise for us that they scored.”