x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Emirates have nothing to lose in the Asian Champions League

Ghazi Gharriri, the Emirates coach, believes that his side will go into their first Asian Champions League tie with everything to gain.

Emirates make their first appearance in the Asian Champions League (ACL) tomorrow and Ghazi Gharriri, their coach, believes his team have nothing to lose.

Little is expected of the side from Ras al Khaimah who were relegated from the Pro League at the end of last season and have failed in their quest to retain the President's Cup after being beaten by Al Jazira in the quarter-finals last week.

But going into tonight's Group D fixture away at Zob Ahan of Iran, Gharriri said his team were looking simply to give a good account of themselves and to enjoy the experience of playing against different opposition.

"We will be satisfied with some good results in the continental championship," he said.

"It is a good advertisement for Emirates to play in the ACL. We are a small club and to play for the first time at the continental level is a bigger experience.

"I believe it is a big step forward in terms of exposure for the players as well as for the club that has been in and out of the top flight domestic competition."

Despite losing 3-2 to Jazira last week, Gharriri believed his side could take a lot of encouragement from their performance.

"We were better than Jazira, both technically and physically," he added.

"We created more chances but we couldn't convert them to goals. That was the reason for our defeat. We can take a lot of positives from this game when we travel to Iran."

The other teams in Group D are Al Rayyan of Qatar and Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia.

Emirates are looking good for a return to the top flight competition next season as they head the Division 1 Group A by seven points from their nearest rivals, Ajman, with two rounds left.

The top four will play again in a home and away format with the top two earning promotion back to the Pro League next season.

 

apassela@thenational.ae