Al Ain manager Olaroiu says potential title-clinching match is 'like a final'

The Abu Dhabi outfit are confident in their ability to defeat recent President's Cup winners Al Jazira and claim the league title in front of a supportive home crowd
After eight years of waiting, Al Ain could clinch a historic 10th UAE Pro League championship when they host Al Jazira at Tahnoon bin Mohammed Stadium on Friday night.

A win would give the Abu Dhabi club an insurmountable ten-points lead over second-place Al Shabab with three matches remaining.

"This match is like a final,"Al Ain's Romanian coach Cosmin Olaroiu told The National. "We are waiting to harvest our efforts for the whole season, so we should double our efforts and increase our concentration to reach our end."

But his counterpart on the other side of the pitch appears to have other ideas.

"We have a very important target, to keep Al Ain from taking the title from this game," said Al Jazira manager Caio Junior. "We have had a very short time to regroup, but we will put our best effort forward to win the three points."

Al Jazira are coming off a successful but difficult run, averaging nearly two matches a week across three competitions. After guaranteeing advancement to the knockout phase of the Asian Champions League with last week's draw against Iran's Esteghlal, the club won their second straight President's Cup title on Monday in a 3-1 win against Baniyas.

"We will adopt the same strategy as we did against Baniyas in the President's Cup final," Caio Junior elaborated, "And that is to strike a good balance between attack and defence.

"However, Al Ain will be a different opponent than Baniyas because they have a very dangerous attack led by [Ghana international Asamoah] Gyan and [former Saudi Arabia captain Yasser] Al Qahtani. We have a plan for them, though."

Olaroiu, for his part, remains cool under pressure.

"Logically, we would be [under pressure] if we were only one or two points clear from the second on the table," the Romanian explained, "But we have an eight-point lead.

"We have no pressure, with Al Ain fans existing in all stadiums, and I believe they will come to Al Qattara in huge numbers."

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