Ready for River Plate
With the win over Esperance behind them, Al Ahbabi and his team-mates are already turning their attention to their semi-final opponents, Copa Libertadores winners River Plate, who come to UAE fresh from their triumph over Boca Juniors. Al Ahbabi said: “I watched them against Boca Juniors and they are a very good team with great potential. We respect every opponent, and we have to put in a performance that is worthy of a semi-final.”
Before signing off, Al Ahbabi touched on his team’s ambitions at the tournament, now that they have matched Al Jazira’s run to the semi-finals last year. Al Jazira fell at the penultimate hurdle to eventual winners Real Madrid, but Al Ain are aiming to go one better and register the best result for a UAE team at the finals.
Bandar believes that is an achievable goal, and that Al Ain are looking forward to going to as far as possible in the tournament. “Our ambitions are very high when we face any side regardless of their name,” he said. “The most important thing for us is to strongly represent UAE. We have done well so far, but we are determined to go as far as possible as we believe we haven’t done what we want yet.”