Zoran Mamic was grateful to Al Ain skipper Omar Abdulrahman after his side came away from Uzbekistan with an important 3-2 victory over Bunyodkor in their second Group C game in the 2017 AFC Champions League.
Abdulrahman opened the scoring for Al Ain in the 8th minute from a well struck free-kick before Bunyodkor responded within a minute as Vadim Cemirtan tucked away a rebound for the equaliser.
Caio Lucas gave Al Ain the lead again before Cemirtan drew the hosts level in the 42nd minute. However, Abdulrahman confidently converted a late penalty after Caio was tripped inside the box.
"All credit to skipper Omar Abdul Rahman’s efforts. The fighting spirit that the entire team showed was tremendous. They showed they had a strong desire to return from Tashkent with three points,” said Mamic.
The coach appreciates the concerns of being reliant on the AFC Player of the Year but felt it's normal to bank on the team's star to deliver when others are absent.
“Certainly, relying entirely on the presence of a star like Amoory is not good, at the same time it's not as bad if you have a few absentees due to suspension or injury. However, here we played more powerful and adopted collective style of football,” he explained.
Al Ain play their next AFC Champions League fixture on March 13 against Al Ahli SC.