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Al Hilal v Al Ain: Dalic happy with preparation

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Sep 2014

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Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic is confident his side are ready for their AFC Champions League semi-final against Al Hilal.

The UAE Arabian Gulf League outfit are in pre-season, with their campaign not starting until later in September.

But they have been put through intensive training ahead of their trip to Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd International Stadium to face Al Hilal in the first leg on Tuesday.

The 2003 champions will be given a private jet for the flight, and Dalic insisted his team are prepared despite being in their off-season.

“We put players through two good training sessions before departure to Riyadh,” the Croatian told the club’s website.

“I hope to achieve the desired result and I have great confidence in the players to continue our strong results in Asia.”

Al Ain’s last competitive matches were the Champions League quarter-finals, when they beat Al Ittihad 5-1 on aggregate.

Dalic has superstar striker Asamoah Gyan at his disposal.

The former Sunderland and Udinese man has scored at better than a goal a game since his move to the United Arab Emirates.

Al Hilal come into the first leg after a 2-1 league win over Najran on Friday.

The two-time Champions League winners, led by coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, will need a result at home.

Nasser Al-Shamrani netted a brace in the victory against Najran, and only Gyan has scored more Champions League goals this season.

The 30-year-old Saudi Arabian forward has struck seven times – five fewer than Gyan.

The two gun strikers will play a key role, but the first leg is likely to be a cagey affair as the sides look to close in on a final berth.

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