Asamoah Gyan comes through for Al Ain again
AL AIN 2 AL JAZIRA 1
Al Ain - Gyan 61’, 81’ Al Jazira - Mabkhout 17’
Man of the match - Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)
Al Ain win 4-2 on aggregate
AL AIN // Asamoah Gyan fired two second half goals as Al Ain rallied from a goal down to clinch a 2-1 win on Tuesday night over Al Jazira and advance to the last-eight stage in the Asian Champions League.
Jazira, trailing 2-1 from the first-leg game, got off to a perfect start when Ali Mabkhout put them ahead 1-0 at half time, but the visitors had no answer for Gyan’s second-half heroics, which helped Al Ain win the two-leg tie 4-2 in aggregate at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
Zlatko Dalic, the Al Ain coach, already thinks his team can take the momentum forward when they meet Al Ahli in the President’s Cup final on Sunday.
“We achieved our first objective of qualifying for the last-eight stage in the ACL and this result will surely help the confidence of the players when we go into the Cup final,” he said.
In a busy week, Al Ain play the English Premier League champions Manchester City in a friendly on Thursday, but Dalic’s eye is on their match on Sunday.
“With all due respect to the English Premier League champions, this game is not my focus,” he said.
“Our next big game is the Cup final, because the next round of matches in the ACL is in three months. And that provides me a lot of time to prepare the team, but our immediate task is to win the final on Sunday.
“My players have already shown remarkable improvement. They played an excellent game to win against Jazira.”
Walter Zenga, the Jazira coach, felt his team did their best, but still fell short of achieving their objective at the end.
“Gyan touched twice and he scored twice, but I think my team played an amazing game, particularly in the first half,” he said.
“We achieved the objectives of the club, but the sad part was we couldn’t win the cup [after reaching the Arabian Gulf Cup final] and we couldn’t reach the last-eight stage in the ACL.
“Otherwise, the team has achieved the objectives laid out by the club, which was to reach a final and a top-three finish in the league.”
Abdulla Mousa’s cross from the left deflected off the Al Ain centre-back Ismail Ahmed and fell into Mabkhout’s path, and the UAE international forward tapped the ball into the back of an empty net for the visitors to take an early lead.
Gyan equalized on the hour with a low shot after he was set up inside the box by Mohammed Abdulrahman.
He added the second with a superb finish to a move that was started by Alex Brosque, the second-half substitute, who found Ibrahim Diaky on top of the , who connected with Gyan inside the box.
Gyan had an early opportunity to level the scores, but the Ghanaian striker was wide on a close-range header off a right cross from Mohammed Ahmed early in the second half.
Al Ain were unlucky when a rocket from Diaky crashed against the crossbar, fell behind the Jazira goalkeeper Ali Kasheif, and bounced out.
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Published: May 13, 2014 04:00 AM