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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Marcus Berg still 'not 100 per cent' as Al Ain prepare for Fifa Club World Cup clash with Esperance

Swedish striker, along with midfielder Yahia Nader, still recovering from virus as AGL side take on Tunisian opponents in quarter-final at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium

Al Ain's manager Zoran Mamic admitted on Friday he has selection headlines, including the fitness of Marcus Berg, ahead of their quarter-final with Esperance. EPA
Al Ain's manager Zoran Mamic admitted on Friday he has selection headlines, including the fitness of Marcus Berg, ahead of their quarter-final with Esperance. EPA

Al Ain manager Zoran Mamic has admitted he has some tough decisions to make on his starting line-up for his side's Fifa Club World Cup quarter-final play-off with Esperance de Tunis on Saturday.

Illness, a suspension and having to play just three days after they went to 120 minutes and penalties in their epic play-off tie with Team Wellington has left them stretched.

Mamic revealed on Friday that both striker Marcus Berg and midfielder Yahia Nader are still recovering from viral fever that has hit the squad, while Mohammed Abdulrahman is banned after being sent off for two yellow cards against Wellington.

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“Berg and Yahia are not 100 per cent still and we’ll have to see how much they can recover before tomorrow’s game, and there are some players still recovering from little niggles,” said Mamic. “We have a very short period to recover after playing the first game for over 120 minutes.

“Esperance arrive fresh but that’s the format of the tournament, we have three days since our first game and we’ll try to make best use of that time to prepare for our next game.”

Al Ain had to come from three down to eventually draw 3-3 with Wellington, winning the shoot-out 4-3, and Mamic acknowledged his side cannot afford to make the same mistakes at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium when the game kicks off at 8.30pm.

"We are playing the African champions and we’ll try to make a good match,” he said.

“Winning the first match was a big bonus for us and the second game is going to be harder but better for the players to enjoy the atmosphere and to be on the spotlight.”

Updated: December 14, 2018 07:59 PM

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