Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, the Al Ain coach, believed the 4-3 victory in their opening match against Dubai, the Pro League new boys, was a decent result after the difficulty the club had signing foreign players. "We had a few problems, particularly in the defence, but I will take the three points as a satisfying result," he said. Al Ain have had a troubled start to their campaign with their quota of foreign players still incomplete. They struck a deal with Al Qadisiya of Kuwait to bring in Ibrahima Keita, the Ivorian midfielder, and he played just two days after his arrival.
Keita was a replacement for Jorge Valdivia, the Chile playmaker, who left midway through Al Ain's training camp in Austria last month to rejoin Palmeiras in Brazil. The nine-time league champions have yet to find a replacement for Soufiane Alloudi, the Moroccan forward who was ruled out for four months after injuring a knee in last week's friendly against Al Shabab of Oman. "We have not got our combinations right and that's why winning the three points was important to us, not how we played," al Mishtiki said. "To be fair, Dubai played a strong game and made us pay for the defensive errors.
"We have still to find a replacement for Alloudi. We will start working on our combination and the mistakes for the next game. Keita is a good signing but he came straight into the game. He will need more time and I hope his injury is not serious." The Ivorian limped off the field in the 68th minute. Ayman al Ramadi, Dubai's Egyptian coach, felt going down 4-3 to Al Ain was not a bad result for a promoted side.
"We scored three times against Al Ain, and that's a positive we can carry forward. We shouldn't have conceded that many goals, and that's an area we may have to work on for our next match." firstname.lastname@example.org