Gyan and Stoch’s class enough for Al Ain to blank Baniyas
ABU DHABI // Luis Garcia, the Baniyas coach, has predicted that Al Ain will win the Arabian Gulf League title after his team were thrashed 3-0 at home by the Garden City Club last night.
Asamoah Gyan scored either side of half time and Miroslav Stoch netted the other as Al Ain took their tally to 23 points from 10 games.
“Al Ain are on a different level than us, or rather most of the other teams,” Garcia said.
“Losing to them doesn’t hurt us as we are still in a rebuilding process. I am satisfied with my team’s progress from how we started. Tonight, we were up against the best team in the league in my opinion.
“We matched Al Ain until they scored their first goal. My players lost their concentration after that to concede a second and that was the end of the game for us. Still, we can’t get disappointed when you compare the levels of the two teams.”
Al Ain opened the scoring on 38 minutes when Slovakian midfielder Stoch floated a long ball to Gyan and the Ghanaian squeezed past two defenders to poke home from the edge of the box.
His shot flew past the outstretched hands of the goalkeeper Mohsin Al Hashmi into the far corner of the net.
Provider turned scorer three minutes later when Stoch sent home a curling shot from the left side of the box.
Baniyas had a chance to reduce the deficit after the break, but Yousef Jaber’s header from a corner was cleared from the goal line by Mohammed Fayez, the Al Ain defender.
But Gyan wrapped things up when he scored his second and his team’s third of the match. Kim Jung-woo, Baniyas’s South Korean midfielder, headed a high ball back towards his own area and straight into the path of the Ghana captain, who rounded Al Hashmi to complete the rout.
Gyan and Stoch were in a class of their own up front and Al Ain’s defence looked solid. The veteran midfielder Helal Saeed patrolled the centre of the park in the absence of Omar Abdulrahman.
“We have played two good games and are in a good position, but we still have a long way to go,” said Zlatko Dalic, the Al Ain coach.
“We would still like to take one game at a time because we haven’t even reached the halfway stage in the league. We have another game coming up before a break, so our immediate task is to prepare for that game against Sharjah.”
Star performer: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)
The Ghanaian striker broke the deadlock with a piercing shot and showed good anticipation to score his second and the team’s third after a defensive mistake.
Underperformer: Mohsin Al Hashmi (Baniyas)
The Baniyas goalkeeper stood still for Al Ain’s first two goals. He reacted late on Gyan’s shot from the edge of the box and Stoch’s effort from a difficult angle.
Key moment: A three-minute spell when Al Ain scored twice within to take the game away from Baniyas.
4/10 They were impressive in their last five games before falling flat on the night. They matched Al Ain initially, but struggled to keep the same level as their opponents after conceding.
Al Ain rating
7/10 Al Ain were in a league of their own and the result was never in doubt after they opened the scoring. They didn’t need their playmaker Omar Abdulrahman to register another authoritative win.
Our verdict: After scoring seven unanswered goals in two games (against Al Wahda and Baniyas) Al Ain are looking increasingly like the team they will all have to beat in the title race.
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Published: December 14, 2014 04:00 AM