x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Olaroiu's cause for concern as Al Ahli draw UAE League Cup match

Al Ahli dominate but profligacy in front of goal sees Emirates earn draw; Al Ain rout Al Wahda; Al Dhafra win again. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

Coming off a 3-1 setback to Al Dhafra in the opening round, Al Ahli, in red, needed a better result than a draw against Emirates.
Coming off a 3-1 setback to Al Dhafra in the opening round, Al Ahli, in red, needed a better result than a draw against Emirates.

Al Ahli 1

Emirates 1

Al Ahli Ciel 22'

Emirates Al Meghaizwi 90'+1

Man of the Match Ciel (Ahli)

DUBAI // Cosmin Olaroiu admits he is worried about the profligacy of his Al Ahli team in front of goal, but the Romanian is confident they will be ready for the start of the Arabian Gulf League when his international stars return for club duty.

Ahli, who lost their opening League Cup match 3-1 at Al Dhafra last week, dominated their clash against Emirates on Monday night, but scored just once and the Super Cup winner's wastefulness came back to haunt them when Khalid Al Meghaizwi equalised for the promoted side in injury time.

"It was a game we controlled right through," Olaroiu said. "But we missed a lot of opportunities and this is worrying me because we are not showing enough concentration to close games.

"Football is like this – when you miss a lot of chances you pay for it and that is what happened."

In three official matches this season, Ahli have scored just twice and Olaroiu conceded they need to "fix some defects up front" in the coming days.

The Romanian has been impressed with the contribution of his new recruit Ciel in the two League Cup matches.

"Ciel did a good job," he said. "Against Dhafra also, he was the only one who was creating problems for them."

Grafite, Ahli's leading scorer for the past two seasons, has struggled with an injury through the summer and Olaroiu believes his Brazilian striker is a bit rusty because of a lack of match-time.

"This is only the second game he is playing for 90 minutes," the Ahli coach said.

"I gave him 90 minutes because this game is like a preparation for the league."

Olaroiu has also used these two League Cup matches to give an opportunity to Ahli's younger players as several of his first choices have been away with the UAE national team for the OSN Cup tournament in Saudi Arabia.

"We should and we will, for sure," Olaroiu said when asked if he expects his team to improve once the national team players return.

Eid Baroot, the Emirates coach, is also expecting his team to improve as the season progresses.

The 2012/13 Division One champions overhauled their team in the summer and the Emirati said it will take a few matches before they find their rhythm as a unit.

"The draw was a perfect result for us, especially since it came in the last minute," he said. "Of course we have a long season ahead and we have a lot of work to do.

"We know the strengths and weakness of our team, and we have a lot of hope and ambitions as a team.

"Our team is coming from the second division and the squad has changed over the summer.

"We have a completely new team, so we will try to work hard and hopefully the players will understand what we want and understand what are the difficulties we need to overcome to make things easier for us."

OTHER RESULTS

Al Wasl 1

Al Dhafra 2

Al Wasl Naser 67’
Al Dhafra Hasan Al Hammadi 48’,  Chafni (pen) 84’

A penalty six minutes from time from Moroccan midfielder Kamel Chafni maintained Al Dhafra’s 100 per cent winning start to the League Cup competition. Dhafra followed up last week’s 3-1 win against Al Ahli with a 2-1 victory at Al Wasl. They took the lead through Hasan Al Hammadi just after half time but Mohammed Naser’s reply on 67 minutes levelled the score before Chafni’s penalty.

Al Ain 3

Al Wahda 0

Al Ain Diaky 26’, Mohamed Abdulrahman 49’, 59’

The third time proved to be a charm for the new Al Ain coach Jorge Fossati as the Uruguayan finally saw his team record a victory under his charge after two defeats. Two of the three Abdulrahman brothers, Mohamed and Khaled, were instrumental in the Garden City club’s 3-0 romp; Khaled set up the first for Ibrahim Diaky on 26 minutes before Mohamed struck twice in the second half at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium on Monday night.

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE