x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Gallo's despair after seeing Al Ain's hopes undone by a 'silly goal'

While his defence was noticeably worn down in the game's final 30 minutes, the coach felt the third goal was especially preventable.

ABU DHABI // The flip side of the wild finish that earned Al Shabab its first Etisalat Cup was an Al Ain squad that felt it let an opportunity slip away in the 3-2 loss.

The plan of Al Ain coach Alexandre Gallo going into the match was to pay extra defensive attention to Al Shabab's Brazilian stars Ciel and Julio Cesar, and to score by counterattacking.

That strategy had Al Ain leading 1-0 for 69 minutes, but then the Al Shabab duo took over the game for the final 20 minutes.

"Our team was prepared to play by counterattack. We did a good job with the offensive system", Gallo said.

"We did a good job in the first half, but at the end of the game, our system dropped in performance".

While his defence was noticeably worn down in the game's final 30 minutes, Gallo felt the third goal was especially preventable.

"I'm a little sad to have lost the game, because we had prepared so much, and we got the equaliser in stoppage time," Gallo said in his post match press conference.

"Then you concede the third goal in the last minute. You must stop it. It was a silly goal. It makes this loss hurt a little more".

Despite the setback, Gallo felt yesterday's performance was a strong one overall for his team.

He felt Al Shabab deserved credit for their front line's relentless offensive pressure in the second half.

"Today was not a low performance. It was a good performance", Gallo said. "You're facing players like Ciel and Cesar that are skilful, it makes all the difference in the game, and they made the difference in the game today".

Gallo, who became Al Ain's coach in December, believes the result will be learning experience for his club.

"It's going to be a learning experience for a player, with this goal in the last minute."

Gallo was also keen to congratulate friend and fellow Brazilian Paulo Bonamigo on Al Shabab's win, saying that his opponent's team had fully earned their dramatic victory.

He also said that he will be fielding an entirely different line-up in South Korea for their AFC Champions League match with Seoul Wednesday.

He noted that all 11 starters in yesterday's game would not be making the trip.

sports@thenational.ae