Olaroiu wants Al Ahli to focus on Asian Champions League final
Olaroiu hopes win over Dibba Fujairah serves as a wake-up call ahead of the first leg of the ACL final
Al Ahli coach Cosmin Olaroiu hopes Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Dibba Fujairah serves as a wake-up call ahead of the first leg of the Asian Champions League final at home to Guangzhou Evergrande next Saturday.
The Red Knights may have recorded their fifth consecutive win to go second in the Arabian Gulf League thanks to goals either half from Rodrigo Lima and Ahmad Khalil before Bakary Kone’s consolation, but Olaroiu wasn’t impressed his side’s finishing.
“Today we weren’t there with our heads,” said the Romanian. “In football, when you miss the chances we did, you sometimes pay a heavier price. The concentration wasn’t very high.
“We scored two goals but we should have scored more. I hope all this will turn in luck for the next game.
“You cannot compare today’s game with the next one. We are going to play in the final against a very strong team. But we need to play differently. We have to treat the game differently.
“We created a lot of chances to today. It will be difficult to create the same amount of chances in the final, so we will need to be ready for everything.
“Of course, when you have the most important game of your life in front of you, it’s hard to focus on this game. But thanks to God, we won and now we look forward to Guangzhou,” he added.
Al Ahli leapfrogged Al Nasr for second on goal-difference with this win after the Blue Wave were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Al Shabab.
Meanwhile, Al Ain went three points clear with a 2-0 victory at home to Al Jazira. Fourth-placed Bani Yas suffered a setback with a 2-0 defeat away to Al Dhafra. And fifth-placed Al Wahda dumped more pressure on bottom of the league Al Shaab with a 4-1 away win. Al Wasl were also beaten 4-2 away to Emirates and Fujairah beat Sharjah 2-1 at home.
After the Al Ahli game, Olaroiu also poured scorn on Al Hilal’s appeal against the Red Knights for allegedly fielding an ineligible player in last month’s Asian Champions League semi-final.
The Saudi Arabian club want Al Ahli’s 4-3 aggregate win overturned after Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi came on as a substitute for the last 20 minutes of the second leg, despite Al Hilal’s claims that he was not registered to play in the competition. The Asian Football Confederation have since thrown out the appeal but Al Hilal have pursued the case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, where a final decision is expected by November 3.
Olaroiu said the Riyadh club should just accept the defeat. “I don’t think supporters of Al Hilal deserve that,” he said of the club’s pursuit with CAS. “Sometimes when you lose you try to take attention away from that. But football is played on the field, we won on the field and we will play in the final,” he added.
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