Al Ain: Al Ain coach Quique Flores is expecting a tough challenge for his side when they take on Lekhwiya in their opening match in Group C of the 2014 AFC Champions League on Wednesday.
The former Valencia coach, who saw his charges lose 1-0 on Friday to Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League, believes Eric Gerets’ team will adopt a defensive stance, making life difficult for the inaugural AFC Champions League winners.
“We have looked at all the possibilities in our match against Lekhwiya, who could play with a defensive formation in order to get a positive result away from home,” said the Spaniard.
“The match will be very hard and we have a new challenge in this competition and hopefully we can perform well.
“Despite the fact that Lekhwiya are a strong team and they can cause a lot of problems, we must prove that we have done a lot of good work recently and I hope that the good mentality of Al Ain players will help us to get three points from the match.”
Lekhwiya arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Monday off the back of a 1-1 draw in the Qatar Stars League with Al Wakra last Thursday and Gerets’ side will be missing the suspended Luis Junior, who picked up a second yellow card in the playoff win over Kuwait SC. Dame Traore, meanwhile, is doubtful due to injury.
“We came to the UAE in order to get three points from the match against Al Ain, which can help us advance from the group stage,” said Lekhwiya’s Belgian coach.
“The match is very hard for us since it’s away from home, but the players must fight against the hosts.
“We know Al Ain well and I had the chance to watch their recent matches in the local league where they are not performing well. However, this doesn't mean that the match will be easy for us because they are a strong team and they have an excellent history in the competition.”
Sydney: FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo blamed crucial lapses in concentration as FC Seoul lost Wednesday's AFC Champions League semi-final second leg 2-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers to miss out on a second consecutive final appearance.
Former finalist Eugene Galekovic has hailed Western Sydney Wanderers for becoming the second Australian side to reach the AFC Champions League final ahead of Saturday's first leg, although the veteran goalkeeper is amazed by the speed in which the A-League's newest side have followed up Adelaide United's 2008 achievement.
Korea Republic international centre-back Kwak Tae-hwi is hoping to rewrite his and Al Hilal's history ahead of the first leg of this year's AFC Champions League final against Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.