Consistency the key for Al Ain, says Al Hajeri

Dubai: The chairman of the board of directors of Al Ain has insisted that consistency in performances has been one of the salient features behind the domestic success of the team.

Ten-man Al Ain scored on either side of half-time to assert their supremacy with a hard-fought 2-1 win against Al Wasl and lift the President’s Cup for a seventh time at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, on Thursday. After defender Esmail Ahmad had prodded home a corner kick in the third minute, it was Al Ain’s top scorer Marcus Berg rounding off a snap move five minutes into the second half to start the celebrations for a second trophy in as many weeks for Al Ain.

Reduced to ten men, Al Ain then defended valiantly and came close to scoring at least a couple more before Al Wasl managed to pull back a consolation goal through Caio Canedo at the beginning of injury period.

“All teams have been playing at a high level this season. But not all of them have shown the consistency that Al Ain have displayed throughout the season. Based on this one factor we have managed to win both the trophies that we have been involved in so far,” Ganem Al Hajeri, chairman, board of directors, disclosed after being asked about the secret behind Al Ain’s success this year.

“It has been a long season and the players are tired, and tonight, we saw this tiredness on the field. But in the end, I think we did just enough to score the goals and win one more trophy,” he added.

Al Ain will play Qatari side Al Duhail on May 8 and 15 in the home and away Round of 16 fixture of the 2018 AFC Champions League. “We are known as The Boss and we have our own style of playing. We are direct in our approach and that brings us the goals. Nothing is going to change for us. We still have the AFC Asian Champions League and we want that honour as well,” Al Hajeri insisted.

Team manager Mattar Al Sahtani maintained that none of the players, especially those who are coming to the end of their contracts, want to leave The Boss. “All want to stay back and achieve even more laurels for the club, more so because it is our golden jubilee year. We have a good working relationship with all the players, and it has already been decided that all of our four foreign pros [Caio Fernandes, Marcus Berg, Tsukasa Shiotani and Hussain Al Shahat] will remain at least for one more season,” he said.