Al Ain’s two-goal hero Caio Canedo insisted every game in the Arabian Gulf League is “like a final” after his side moved into the top four with a 3-1 win over Fujairah.
The Brazilian opened the scoring with some individual brilliance on 23 minutes before Laba Kodjo doubled the lead with a penalty midway through the second half.
Caio then sealed the win seven minutes from time, while Kristiano Samuel pulled one back with a minute left but it was only a consolation for Fujairah at the Hazza bin Zayed stadium on Friday.
Six points from the last two games took Al Ain’s tally to 30 points, seven behind the leaders Sharjah, who they defeated 2-1 last week.
“It was important to win the three points tonight,” Caio said. “No matter how you do it. Sometimes the fans want us to play beautiful football but sometimes it’s not possible. What’s important for us is the three points.
“Against Sharjah, we won a very tough game away. We lost to them at home and to go and win away gave us a lot of confidence for the game tonight.
“However, we go game by game. Now the group is good, everybody is together, everybody help each other. We have lots of games left and every game that’s for us is like a final. So we need to win every game if we want to win the title.”
Caio sliced through the Fujairah defence to open the scoring before rounding off the win with his second of the match. In-between, Kodjo was called-up to convert the penalty for a handball after reviewing VAR.
“I’m playing in a new position and I need time to adapt playing outside the area,” Caio said of his role behind the Togolese forward Kodjo.
“It is not what I’m used to do but I’m learning. I’m trying to learn and the players are trying to find me in the new position.
“I’m trying to get better because it’s not easy after playing inside the box and then when I have to outside and far away from the goal. I’m getting better and all my colleagues and the technical staff are helping me.”
In the other games, Ismail Mattar found the net twice as Al Wahda overcame Khorfakkan 3-0 at Al Nahyan stadium and Al Wasl were held 4-4 by Kalba at the Zabeel stadium.