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.”
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Riyadh: Al Shabab coach Amar Souayah described his team’s match against Esteghlal as a ‘cup final’ after the Saudi club overcame the Iranian side 2-1 with a pair of late goals at the King Fahd International Stadium.
Riyadh: Home team Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia come into Wednesday night’s Group A fixture against Iran’s Esteghlal at the top of the group and riding high from their King’s Cup quarter-final win over fellow AFC Champions league side Al Hilal last Friday.