x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Asian Champions League: Cosmin Olaroiu targets three points for Al Ain

Cosmin Olaroiu is worried about the lack of preparation Al Ain have had as they face Esteghlal at Tehran, but is confident his side can step up to the challenge.

Matei Mirel Radoi, front right, and the rest of Al Ain team on the training pitch. Little can prepare them for the 100,000 hostile Iranian fans that will pack Esteghlal's Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
Matei Mirel Radoi, front right, and the rest of Al Ain team on the training pitch. Little can prepare them for the 100,000 hostile Iranian fans that will pack Esteghlal's Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

 

Al Ain go into Wednesday night's crucial Asian Champions League encounter at Esteghlal intent on victory, according to manager Cosmin Olaroiu.

A win in Iran would give the UAE champions maximum points from two games after they opened last month with a 3-1 triumph against Al Hilal.

However, given the strength of their opponents, and that the match takes place in Tehran's formidable Azadi Stadium, some had suggested Al Ain should settle for a draw.

Olaroiu says his side have greater ambitions.

"We aim for victory in every match, whether it's home or away," he said. "We work for winning three points. And if we don't win, a point away from home is a good result."

The match is Al Ain's fourth in two weeks as their heavy schedule takes its toll. Ali Al Wehaibi and Helal Saeed miss Wednesday night's game because of injury, while Omar Abdulrahman was given a less strenuous training programme this week.

"Recently we've had no time to prepare as we've played every three days," Olaroiu said. "But we've prepared with the usual spirit and commitment because we know the importance of this match."

Meanwhile, Esteghlal's captain, Mujtabi Jabbari, said he expects a difficult challenge this evening and called for the Iranians' passionate support to help his side to victory.

"We have a tough test against a strong team, but we're ready to claim three points," he said. "A win will please the fans and enhance our chances of qualifying for the next round."

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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