Al Ahli's Hugo Viana, centre, tries to defend the ball from Masoud Hassan of Ajman during their Arabian Gulf League match at Rashid Stadium in Dubai on September 29, 2014. Sarah Dea / The National
Al Ahli's Hugo Viana, centre, tries to defend the ball from Masoud Hassan of Ajman during their Arabian Gulf League match at Rashid Stadium in Dubai on September 29, 2014. Sarah Dea / The National

Al Ahli’s attacking struggles will not entice champions to open their wallet



DUBAI // Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ahli coach, says Monday's frustrating 0-0 draw with Ajman will not force the club into the transfer market.

The UAE champions have endured an inconsistent start to the Arabian Gulf League season, with the stalemate at the Rashid Stadium meaning they have taken only one point from a possible six at home.

Ahli are considering adding to their squad before Thursday's transfer deadline, however, following an injury to Ciel in their opener against Sharjah. The Brazilian required surgery on a broken ankle and is expected to be unavailable for at least six months.

Olaroiu conceded that Ahli struggled to penetrate Ajman’s defence without Ciel.

“Ciel is a player who can break down a defence individually with his spirit, his power, his penetration,” Olaroiu said. “And in a game like this you miss it.

“But this is not the only reason for the result. We have other players and in a different way they should be able to do it. We have to win even if we don’t have Ciel. We don’t have to think about this anymore.”

With Ciel injured, Ahli have recalled Hugo Viana to the starting line-up, despite the Portuguese playmaker’s future at the club remaining uncertain.

Ahli are interested in recruiting a direct replacement for Ciel, but Olaroiu insists that he trusts in his current squad as they seek to retain the league title they secured last season with three rounds to spare.

"We have other players, very good players," he said. "Ciel's absence is not the main reason we failed to beat Ajman, it's one. We have Grafite, Luis [Jimenez] and Ahmed Khalil, players who can make a difference at any time, at any moment. They've done it before many times."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE


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