Olaroiu says concentration key to avoiding mistakes

Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu is wary of his opposite number on the Al Dhafra touchline, Dzemal Hadziabdic, writes John McAuley, and warns his team to maintain their concentration.

Al Ain, in white, were 4-1 victors over Ajman in their last game.
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AL AIN // Cosmin Olaroiu is demanding his Al Ain players concentrate for 90 minutes Thursday night against newly promoted Al Dhafra.

The Pro League champions entertain Dzemal Hadziabdic's emerging side at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium intent on avoiding a repeat of their last home game, when Al Ahli inflicted a shock 6-3 opening day defeat.

Al Ain got the defence of their title on track last week with a resounding 4-1 win at Ajman, yet will expect a difficult encounter with Dhafra, who have begun life well in the top flight by taking four points from two matches.

"If we don't concentrate Dhafra will cause lots of problems because they always work on making use of their opponents' mistakes," Olaroiu said. "If we are more organised it will be difficult for them to cause problems.

"So we're playing this match with high concentration in every position. This season will be the most competitive compared to previous years as some teams improved remarkably and others stayed the same, so every point is available.

"However, we don't wait to see others' results because we're dependent only on ourselves. We have proved our abilities on many occasions."

Dhafra recently bolstered their playing staff with two foreign signings, recruiting the Omani midfielder Fawzi Basheer from Baniyas and Anas Bani Yaseen, the Jordanian defender, on a one-year loan deal from Al Wahda.

The duo continue the Western Region club's prolificacy in the transfer market, with Hadziabdic adding 17 players to his squad before last month's successful Pro League play-offs campaign.

Olaroiu, a former coach of the Qatari side Al Sadd, is familiar with his opposite number from their time managing in the Qatari Stars League.

The Romanian highlighted Dhafra's experience in the Jumaa brothers - Abdulsalam and Abdulraheem - and Amara Diane, but he said that in Hadziabdic, they hold an ace card.

"The Dhafra team is now coached by a distinguished manager whose teams adopt a very organised style on the pitch," Olaroiu said. "This makes matches against any of his sides more difficult."

Al Ain's task this evening will be even more arduous considering they are without two of their foreign players, Mirel Radoi and Jires Kembo Ekoko.

Radoi, the captain, is serving a suspension following his red card against Ahli, while Kembo Ekoko has failed to recover from the injury he sustained in the match with Ajman.

It is unlikely Alex Brosque, the Australian midfielder, will play as he still requires time to integrate with his teammates having joined only last week from the J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse.

"We try to compensate for the absentees by team work, and we played without [Yasser] Al Qahtani and [Asamoah] Gyan more than once last season," Olaroiu said.

"I know it's not easy to make up for the missing foreign players, but I hope we'll succeed in doing that."

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