Stressed that Caio Only Suffered a Muscle Injury.. Hammad Criticizes Gossipers and Denies Any Disagreement Between Leko and Caio
Mohammed Obaid “Hammad”, Supervisor of the Al Ain First Football Team, hailed the fighting spirit of the Boss squad they explicitly exhibited in their clash match against Ittihad Kalba, and winning the guests in the dying minutes of the game by 3-2.
“The most important thing on the team’s debut in the Arabian Gulf League was snatching the three points of the match. It is not easy to play against a team that adopts a compact defense style and closing all available spaces in the back area; a team that has good strikers and players who are skillful in implementing the defensive plans and launching counterattacks. However, conceding two goals at home is not good at all, and definitely the head coach will fix the situation in the coming days,” Hammad said.
Responding to a question on the media reports that indicated the existence of a dispute between the head coach and Brazil’s Caio resulted in excluding him from the team’s starting lineup, he said : “Caio suffered from a back muscle injury during the final pre-match training session held at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, and the head coach took the decision not to take the risk of involving him in the match.”
He added: “The initial medical reports showed that the player needs two weeks rest before he is ready to rejoin the team’s training sessions. Of course, this will be subject to the player’s situation and the decision of the team’s doctor and head coach.”
Hammad put an accent on the fact that gossipers are always looking for fake news that attracts the attention of the audience and makes them follow such breathtaking news. “Those who wish to spread the fake news and rumors like wildfire, they always associate them with Al Ain.”
He stressed: “There is no disagreement between the head coach and any player, but mutual respect, appreciation and family spirit that dominate the atmosphere of the team. These are the most important principles of how players and coaching team interact in and out the changing room consistent with the club’s vision and values.”
“We won deservedly at home and at the expense of the strong-willed Ittihad Kalba,” Ivan Leko, the head coach of Al Ain First Football Team, stated at the post-match press conference held by the end of round 1 match of the Arabian Gulf League held at the Hazza Bin Zayed on Friday 20th September 2019.
He explained: “Al Ain dominated the match most of the time though we missed Brazil’s Caio Canedo due to a minor injury by the end of the yesterday final training session.”
Ivan congratulated the squad for their explicit fighting spirit they were so keen to exhibit as of the kickoff whistle until the last second of the match. He stressed that they know what they are meant to do in the next stages.
Leko also took the opportunity to congratulate the guests for the robust performance while underlining the importance of snatching the first three points.
Commenting on a question on his assessment of his team’s performance, he said: “The Boss squad did well, and I have to admit that the players were circulating the ball. However, we succeeded to score three goals out of six or seven critical chances. The good thing that all players assisted in scoring the three goals where Meziane from depth and Laba scored and assisted in scoring the second goal and Saeed Jumaa who scored the third and winning goal.”
He added: “We scored the goals as we trained. Indeed, the coaching team and I have full confidence in the players’ potentials.”
Leko commented on the guests’ style of playing by stating: “When you play against a team adopting the style of compact defense and closing all available spaces, it will be difficult to penetrate from depth or launch central attacks. The best way is to penetrate through the flanks.”
The team head coach signed off: “It is not acceptable to concede two goals at home and surely will handle such a situation in the training sessions.”
5285 Fans Attended Round 1 Match to Support the Boss.. The Boss Kicks Off the Journey in AGL by Edging Tigers of Kalba by 3-2
Al Ain deservedly and excitingly won the guests, Ittihad Kalba, by 3-2 in round 1 match of the Arabian Gulf League held at the Hazza Bin Zayed on Friday 20th September 2019.
The first half ended by a 1-1 draw. Al Ain scored through Laba Kodjoe “8”, Jamal Marouf “54” and Saeed Jumaa “90+6”. Meanwhile, Togolese Peniel Mlapa of Ittihad Kalba scored his teams’ two goals “19, 93”.
With this result, Al Ain snatched the first three points, while Kalba has zero points.
As of the kickoff whistle, the Boss dominated the match and sought to score the opening goal. Laba Kodjo broke the deadlock for the Boss in the eighth minute. The new signing converted ِAbdul Rahman Meziane’s well-placed cross with a powerful header into the bottom corner.
The Tigers responded quickly through Peniel Mlapa, who finished Balazs Dzsudzsak’s crossed corner kick with a towering header to level things up in the 19th minute.
The hosts restored their lead only nine minutes after the restart. Kodjo turned from scorer to producer, when he sent an in-swinging cross towards Jamal Marouf, whose right-footed volley went past Yousif Abdalla “54th minute”.
In the 83rd minute, Yassin Bakhit advanced up the left flank and cut inside before squaring the ball towards Mlapa. The Togolese smashed the ball into the top corner to net his second goal of the night.
In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Tsukasa Shiotani sent a robust low cross inside the box after a brilliant effort. Saeed Jumaa converted with a smart first-time shot that left Abdalla helpless after it deflected off the Kalba defender.
Al Ain: 3
Goals: Lapa Kodjo “8” – Jamal Marouf “54” – Saeed Jumaa “90 + 6”
Starting Lineup: Khaled Eisa, Saeed Jumaa, Ismail Ahmed, Tsukasa Shiotani, Salem Abdullah, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, Ahmed Barman, Andreja Radovanovic, Abdul Rahman Meziane, Jamal Marouf and Laba Kodjo.
Substitutions: Idris El Mizouni replaced Mohamed Abdul Rahman “66”, Bandar Al Ahbabi replaced Jamal Marouf “77”, Omar Yassin replaced Andreja Radovanovic “83”.
Yellow Cards: None.
Red Cards: None.
Ittihad Kalba: 2
Goals: Peniel Mlapa “19”, Peniel Mlapa “83”
Starting Lineup: Yousef Abdullah, Dawood Ali, Henrique Adriano, Hamdan Nasser Masoud, Omar Ahmed Rashid, Mansour Al Bloushi, Khalid Mohammed Al Shehhi, Majid Rashid, Yassin Al Bakhit, Balazs Dzsudzsak, Peniel Mlapa.
Substitutions: Yaqoob Al Hosani replaced Khaled Al Shehhi “66” – Abdul Salam Mohammed replaced Daoud Al Balushi “90 + 3”.
Yellow Cards: Balazs Dzsudzsak’s “59” – Yousif Abdullah “86”
Red Cards: Mohammed Al Zaabi, Supervisor of Kalba Team “60”
Ahmed Issa Mohammed managed the match as the “Match Referee”, assisted by Hassan Al Mahri “First Assistant”, Mohammed Ghlaita Al Shehhi, “Second Assistant”, Ali Hassan Karim “Fourth Official”, Ammar Al Junaibi, “First Video Referee” and Abdullah Naji , “Second Video Referee”, Ali Hamad, “Referees’ Assessors” and Hamad Al Mazrouei “Match Commissioner”.
5285 Fans Attended the Match
A total of 5,285 loyal fans were available in the standings of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium to be behind their favorite team.
In the pre-match press conference, Al Ain’s Japanese Tsukasa Shiotani stated that he and his teammates are ready to win the three points of round 1 match of the Arabian Gulf League in the team’s debut against the guests, Ittihad Kalba.
He excitedly stated: “We played two official matches in the Arabian Gulf Cup and we are determined to push ourselves to the limit as of the kickoff whistle until the end of the match with sights set to win the guests.”
Commenting on a question on the fact that Al Ain was held at home by spirited Ittihad Kalba last season, he said: “Each match has its circumstances. However, Al Ain squad is fully ready and has the quality players who could realize the fans’ aspirations this new season.”
Sights Are Set High to Clinch the AGL Title.. Leko: The Term “Excuses” is not in My Dictionary, and the Squad is Fully Ready to Win Ittihad Kalba
“I do not recognize the term “excuses” in my own dictionary. The only thing I am fully aware of is that Al Ain is required to perform well and snatch the first three points of the weekmatch 1 of the Arabian Gulf League against Ittihad Kalba, with all due respect to the guests,” Ivan Leko, Al Ain FC Head Coach, stated in the media pre-match conference.
He added: “During the past week, the Boss squad worked hard to reach the required level of readiness to crack on their journey to compete to win the league title. The most important point I am focusing on is to see my stars performing well with and without the ball as of the kickoff whistle until the last minute of the match. They are required to exhibit their high-quality skills, concentration, fighting spirit, and agility. I believe these factors are enough to secure the three points of the match.”
“During the past two months, i.e., from 10 July until 20 September, we were preparing for the league and other championships; indeed, it is a long period! We all look forward to meeting the expectations and achieve the desired successes. I am so happy by my team’s performance, and I have full confidence in the Boss squad,” he said.
Commenting on a question on Al Ain’s big aspirations to clinch the league title of this new season, he said: “In my point of view, yes our target is to win the league title. I do understand that there are four or five teams are competing to clinch the title, considering new players signing to their squads during the summer. Yet, I am happy with the status of my team.”
He signed off: “We are required to perform muscularly as of the weekmatch 1 until the finish line of the league, and I am confident that my players could do it.”
Under the supervision of the UAE Football Association (UAEFA), the Professional League Committee held a workshop under the theme of “Integrity and Doping” at Al Ain Club on Sunday 15th September 2019.
The workshop was moderated by Mr. Ayman Haroon, Director of Competitions at the UAEFA and Integrity Officer at AFC and attended by the Al Ain coaching teams, administrative staff, medical specialists and players of the first and reserved football teams.
The moderator tackled the main issues related to match-fixing and doping and the best methods of combating such illegal acts.