Al Ain manager Serhiy Rebrov counting on home advantage against Baniyas

Garden City club hoping to maintain their six-point lead in Adnoc Pro League

Al Ain manager Serhiy Rebrov. AFP
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After cruising to victories over Khor Fakkan and Emirates - who they beat 4-1 and 3-0 respectively - in the second half of the Adnoc Pro League, Al Ain manager Serhiy Rebrov is expecting a tougher task when they meet Baniyas at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

The Garden City club are six points clear of their closest challengers Al Wahda and Rebrov is hoping his team can maintain that lead at the end of the match week 16 on Friday.

“Baniyas are at a different level than our two previous opponents Khor Fakkan and Emirates, and we expect a very tough game,” the Ukrainian said.

“However, as I always say, our preparations have been the same as against any opponent. We will implement our own style of play rather than trying to counter what the other team do.

“We have prepared well and are ready for them. We have watched their recent matches and they are an improved side even though have been unlucky in some of the games.”

Al Ain edged out Baniyas 1-0 after an early goal from Kodjo Laba in the first round but Rebrov believes the fact they have the home advantage and their fans behind them in the return leg will help.

“I remember the first meeting with Baniyas and that was in early September when the weather was too hot,” the Al Ain manager said.

“We did well to return with full points on that day. This time we’ll play in pleasant weather conditions in Al Ain and I expect a full house with our fans behind us.

“For me, my players work very hard and know what they are required to do on the pitch. But, in the end, it’s a match and everything is possible.

“I am very happy with the Al Ain fans and the kind of support they provide to the team. I still remember when I was a player, one of the most important factors of success for me was the presence of the fans, and our objective was to make them happy.”

Wahda will be at home to Khor Fakkan, while Al Wasl take the short trip to Sharjah in the other games on the night.

Updated: February 18, 2022, 4:30 AM