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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Arabian Gulf League: Zoran Mamic says Al Ain 'have enough cover' to cope with absence of Omar Abdulrahman

Influential playmaker again ruled out by recurring leg muscle spasm while late call will be taken on fitness of centre-back Ahmed

Al Ain manager Zoran Mamic prepares his Al Ain side for the visit of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the Arabian Gulf League on Friday. Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA
Al Ain manager Zoran Mamic prepares his Al Ain side for the visit of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the Arabian Gulf League on Friday. Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA

Al Ain manager Zoran Mamic has played down the absence of Omar Abdulrahman ahead of Friday's match against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai saying the Garden City club are well stocked to deal with their influential playmaker's absence.

The Al Ain and UAE captain is still suffering with a leg muscle spasm that has ruled him out of Al Ain's opening two games in this season's Arabian Gulf League.

“Of course Omar is a key player for us but I don’t like to talk about absent players,” the Croatian said.

“We have enough cover to fill his absence and believe in those in the squad to share the responsibilities. In fact, those provided with the opportunities will not have to be motivated in big games like this."

Al Ain drew their opener against Al Wasl before putting three past Hatta last weekend for their first win of the season. And while Mamic prepares his team without Abdulrahman, he said he would give centre-back Ismail Ahmed until the last minute to prove his fitness.

“Ismail has not yet reached the required degree of readiness to play the full 90 minutes. His place in the squad will be decided before the game,” Mamic said.

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Since three clubs become one over the summer, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai have begun life in the AGL with a 100 per cent record, having beaten both Hatta and Ajman.

“Those results say a lot about their quality,” Mamic said. “They have a bigger pool of players after the merging of three clubs but we are focussed on our own game rather than think what our opposition want to do.”

In the early games, Al Wahda will be looking to extend their winning streak when they face Al Dhafra at Al Nahyan Stadium and Hatta travel to Ras Al Khaimah to play Emirates.

Champions Al Jazira will look to put last week's shock defeat to Dibba behind them when they host Al Nasr at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.

Ajman travel to Dibba in search of their first points and Sharjah meet Al Wasl.

Arabian Gulf League fixtures:

Friday:

  • Emirates v Hatta, 5.15pm
  • Al Wahda v Al Dhafra, 5.25pm
  • Al Ain v Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, 8.15pm

Saturday:

  • Dibba v Ajman, 5.15pm
  • Sharjah v Al Wasl, 5.20pm
  • Al Jazira v Al Nasr, 8.15pm
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