Former Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike has been charged to be at his best as his Dubai based club Al Ain will be looking to bid goodbye to 2015 on a high when they take on Emirates in the Arabian Gulf League at the Emirates Club Stadium on Friday, ahead of the winter break.
Emenike though with a handful of goals has not really measured up to Asamoah Gyan who he was brought in to directly replace.
Al Ain are currently at the top with 31 points, had to sweat it out against Fujairah before scoring four minutes from time for a 2-1 win.
What came to the fore was Al Ain’s inability to convert clear-cut chances and coach Zlatko Dalic will be looking for opportunities to be netted.
Dalic is well aware that Emirates, despite having lost four matches in a row, will raise their game against Al Ain.
“Facing the leaders serves as a perfect opportunity for Emirates to restore confidence and we are well aware of it. We are aware of the importance of winning this game as we have greater challenges in the next phase,” the Croatian said, adding, “From the beginning of the season, I told you that we need between 57 to 59 points to keep the title and so there is still work to be done. I’m not happy with the way we conceded three goals in the last two games.”
He insisted: “We must be better prepared and put up a strong performance and maintain the character of the team. We have to redouble our efforts and deal closely while playing against Emirates. Our mission is not yet over and the second round will be stronger than the first for sure.”
Al Ain’s coach’s caution for his players has a lot to do with the way their closest chasers Al Ahli suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Bani Yas.