x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Valdivia returns to Al Ain

Jorge Valdivia is back from national duty for Al Ain's clash with the defending champions Al Shabab at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium.

AL AIN // Jorge Valdivia is back from national duty for Al Ain's clash with the defending champions Al Shabab at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium. The Chile international came under fire from the coach Winfried Schaefer when he failed to turn up for the last game after watching his country score a historic win over Argentina in the World Cup qualifier last week.

Valdivia has played just one match for his new club but made an immediate impression with a spectacular goal from a free-kick in a 4-0 thrashing of Sharjah on the opening night of the Pro League. He then suffered an injury and missed the next two games before joining the Chile squad for the World Cup qualifiers. Valdivia, nicknamed "El Mago" (The Magician), may have extended his stay at home to celebrate his 25th birthday, but his presence on the pitch tonight will increase the threat to Toninho Cerezo's men.

Valdivia will reunite with the Moroccan Soufiane Alloudi and Brazilian Andre Diaz to lead Ain's three-pronged attack. Schaefer will also have a full squad with the return of his national team players. Ain are unbeaten in five games so far, and the clash with Shabab at home will be a crucial tie to keep that record intact. Shabab have lost just one game, a 4-2 defeat by Sharjah in the league, but they bounced back with a 4-1 pounding of them in a cup tie last week.

apassela@thenational.ae