All set for Super Cup clash

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All set for Super Cup clash

Cosmin Olaroiu might want to sing the song “Don’t look back in anger” by the English rock band Oasis. The Romanian will face a lot of that very word, come Friday night.

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Published: Fri 30 Aug 2013, 9:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:46 AM

As two of the biggest clubs in UAE football renew their famed rivalry, Olaroiu will be an interesting sub-plot in an already intriguing clash.

Cosmin Olaroiu during a Press conference on Thursday. — KT photos by Shoaib AnwerAl Ahli take on the might of Al Ain in the season-opener Arabian Gulf Super Cup at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in what is likely to be a lip-smacking encounter in Abu Dhabi on Friday night.

And Olaroiu is sure to be subjected to an angry reception by the Al Ain faithful, even though the fixture is being played out on neutral turf. Al Ain’s allocation of tickets sold out within five hours of going on sale on Wednesday and thousands of fans will be making that long trip from the Garden City.

The reason for the anger is Olaroiu’s defection to Al Ahli at the end of last season. The Romanian led the Garden City club to two League titles before making a shock move to their Dubai rivals after Quique Sanchez Flores stepped down. And the Al Ain faithful haven’t forgotten that in a hurry.

But Olaroiu is unfazed.

“I have no problems with what took place in the past months. It doesn’t affect me in anyway,” Olaroiu said on Thursday, when asked about the probable reaction by Al Ain fans.

The Arabian Super Cup in the traditional season-opener where the League champions take on the President’s Cup winners.

Talking about the game, he said: “The Super Cup is always a special game between two strong teams. A lot of things have happened during these past few months, which will make it more interesting, and I hope it will be a good game and everyone will enjoy it.”

Olaroiu reckoned it will be a good game. “We always wish to play good football and we will do tomorrow. Al Ain also play very nice football, and although I don’t think either team has reached its maximum preparation level yet, I think it will be a good game and I hope the result will be decided by the teams on the field,” said the 44-year-old.

He said that mentality will be the key on Friday night. “These players have been playing against each other for many years now, and know each other very well. So, the most important thing is the attitude and motivation of the players,” Olaroiu said.

Al Ahli will be without their captain Grafite, Waleed Abbas and Adnan Hussain. Grafite and Hussain are both suspended while, Abbas, who moved from Al Shabab, is injured. With Grafite out, Emirati Ahmed Khalil will have a bigger role to play. But Al Ahli still have enough firepower in new signing Hugo Viana, Luis Jimenez and Ciel, who has joined from Al Shabab. The most notable Emirati players apart from Khalil would be captain Basheer Saeed and Ismail Al Hammadi, with Majed Nasser being the last line of defence. -

Today’s match: (UAE Time)

Al Ain v Al Ahli (7:25pm) 

  • Live on Abu Dhabi Sports; Dubai Sports

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