AL AIN // Despite Al Ain increasing their lead at the top of the Pro League to nine points with just five games remaining, Cosmin Olaroiu, the coach, was refusing to get carried away with talk of the Garden City club soon celebrating an unprecedented 10th domestic championship.
A comfortable 3-0 victory over Baniyas last night at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium extended their lead over second-placed Al Shabab thanks to goals from Ali Al Wehaibi and a double from Asamoah Gyan.
Olaroiu, however, said the team’s target must be to achieve as many points as possible from their remaining fixtures.
“For me, the next game against Al Wasl has now become the more important,” the Romanian said.
“I don’t like to prolong our league ambitions. If we think we need to win so many points from the remaining five games, then things can go awfully wrong. For that reason we must try to win the next game and then the game after that until we win the league, and not wait for the last two games to decide.”
Though Olaroiu was reluctant the fans were already celebrating after the game and spilling into the streets.
“From this point, only a catastrophe can stop us from winning the league,” said Safee Adel, an Al Ain fan. “I think everyone is aware the fate of the league. We, for sure, know the league is ours. It may be decided in the next two or three games. The fans have already started to celebrate knowing that it is only a matter of time.”
Al Wehaibi put Al Ain ahead midway through the first half and Gyan, the forward on loan from the Premier League side Sutherland, struck twice after the break to maintain the club’s 100 per cent home record with nine wins from nine matches.
Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabia captain, had a hand in the first two goals. He set up Al Wehaibi in front of goal after he scurried inside the box to receive a through pass from Gyan. He later lobbed a pass for the Ghanaian striker to beat the offside trap and round Mohammed Ghuloom, the Baniyas goalkeeper.
Gyan scored his second after collecting a lofted pass from Ignacio Scocco, the Argentine midfielder who came on as a late substitute for Mohammed Abdulrahman, to move to the top of the goal-scoring charts with his 15th of the season.
“Congratulations to my players because they did a very good job on the pitch,” Olaroiu said. “We created a few chances and scored three times, and didn’t concede a goal.
“The two teams had different approaches. We were fighting for something and Baniyas didn’t have that motivation because they were thinking more on their upcoming Asian Champions League game and the President’s Cup semi-final.
“Still, they played a good game and didn’t make it any easier for us. They were without a few players but they played well.”
Gabriel Calderon, the Baniyas coach was gracious in defeat.
“Al Ain were playing with a purpose and they were deserving winners,” the Argentine said. “We were not playing well. The players seemed a bit nervous from the onset and didn’t take their chances early in the game.”
[ @SprtNationalUAE ]