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Al Ain look to put Asian Champions League campaign back on track

Al Ain: Al Ain and their new coach Zlatko Dalic have their work cut out when they take on Iran’s Tractor Sazi Tabriz FC in their third match of Group C in the Asian Champions League at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.

Dalic, who replaced Spaniard Quique Sanchez Flores at Al Ain earlier this month, began his tenure with a 2-1 loss to two-time champions Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia last week.

Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Eisa, speaking on the eve of the encounter, said the game was an opportunity for his side to put the loss behind them.

“It is a perfect chance to compensate for the defeat to Ittihad in round two of the ACL. It will be tough to reclaim the lead of Group C, but we are getting ready for the match against the leading team of the group,” Eisa said.

Eisa went on to add that the team has prepared well under new coach Dalic for this crucial game.

“Our new head coach, Zlatko, has done his best to get us ready for the match and we hope to win at home to make our fans happy,” said Eisa, who also appealed to the fans to turn out in large numbers to support the team.

“I would like to say to our fans that they don’t need to be invited to attend the match and their presence is very important for us as players. We will do all we can to win.”

When asked about the major differences he could identify in the style of functioning of Dalic from his predecessor Flores, Eisa said: “There is not that much difference but each has his own way and we as players should help the coach to be ready and get Al Ain back to their natural position.”

Tractor Sazi, meanwhile, will be pinning their hopes on Iranian international Karim Ansarifard to deliver the goods against the hosts.