Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic has declared his raft of international absentees is no excuse for not putting in an “honourable performance” when they aim to get back to winning ways in the Arabian Gulf Cup at Al Jazira.
The Arabian Gulf League and President’s Cup holders are victims of their own success for Wednesday’s Group B-encounter. Their squad has been decimated by six UAE call-ups, plus striker Marcus Berg linking up with Sweden and midfielder Hussein El Shahat being picked by Egypt.
Speaking before the clash at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Mamic refused to countenance this as an excuse against opponents who’ll be missing five Whites stars of their own.
“We are missing more than 50 per cent,” said Mamic, whose side sit in the fourth-and-final quarter-final qualifying spot after defeat last month to Al Nasr.
“But our rival also lacks the efforts of several international players. We strive to provide an honourable performance.”
In Tuesday night’s action, Jaime Ayovi scored and assisted as Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club won 2-0 at Al Wasl in Group A.
Ayovi’s back heel sent Argentinian playmaker Emiliano Vecchio into the clear to slot home the 64th-minute opener. A flying header followed late on from the Ecuador striker to seal the points.
In the same pool, Brazilian midfielder Leonardo’s 25-yard rocket earned a 1-0 win for leaders Al Wahda at Ajman.
Ex-Reims midfielder Diego opened his Al Dhafra account with a brace as Emirates Club were beaten 4-2 in Group B.
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