(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The two teams meet for the third time in this years competition in the first leg at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Tuesday night.Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic has put the past behind and is looking ahead to writing a new chapter when his side take on Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad in the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League. Zlatko Dalic
The two teams meet for the third time in this year’s competition in the first leg at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Tuesday night.
Al Ain lost an away match they should have won before they drew 1-1 at home in the group stage of the competition. ‘The Boss’ have never beaten Al Ittihad in the AFC Champions League but Dalic who has re-inspired this team from an average showing last season believes that it will be a new beginning.
“I expect them to be hard matches. Al Ittihad have a very young fast and dangerous team. We lost to Al Ittihad in the group stage. But this is a different game. We are in the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League. They know about us but so do we. It will be a difficult game but I believe in my team” Dalic said ahead of the game.
“What happened before is the past. It will be a good fight” he added.
br/>Dalic said that his squad was ready for the fixture and added that they were in a good space mentally and physically.
“There is good spirit within the squad. We are in a good space at the moment. Our aim is to make it to the semifinal. Our first step towards that will be on Tuesday night. It will be a really tough game but I hope we can come up on the right side of the result” said Dalic.
“We have to be very careful in defence and try to impose our style on the game. Their key players are Fahad Al Muwallad and Mukhtar Fallatah. Al Muwallad is a very fast player and Fallatah a striker that can score goals with ease. I will prepare my team to stop them though and try and starve these two in particular of possession” he said.
“Their counterattack is a particular threat and we will have to find a way to nullify that. It will be a difficult task but I believe in my team and that we will qualify for the semifinals” Dalic added.
Prior to the game Dalic had held the training behind close doors but opened it up to the fans on Monday.
“I felt that the fans wanted to see the players and the players too wanted to see the fans. So we decided to open up the training session” the Croatian said.