Al Ain, UAE, September 27, 2016 – El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi has stressed his side deserve to be in the semi-finals of the 2016 AFC Champions League as they prepare to take on former champions Al Ain in the first leg of their last four encounter on Tuesday evening.
The Qatari side saw off Al Nasr from the United Arab Emirates in the quarter-finals in controversial circumstances after being awarded a 3-0 win following the annulment of the first leg due to the fielding of an ineligible player.
A 1-0 win in the second leg in Dubai secured the result for Lamouchi’s side and they are now setting their sights on reaching the final for the first time in the club’s history.
“We deserve to be here now and hopefully we can continue on our way towards the final of the competition,” said Lamouchi. “We face a strong team with good players but we have a good team as well and we are ready for the match.”
The two teams have already met in this year’s competition, with El Jaish winning both encounters in the group stages as they started the tournament in impressive fashion with striker Romarinho in particularly stand-out form.
El Jaish have since added former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita to their line-up and Lamouchi will also have Lucas Mendes available for the first leg after he missed the previous game against Al Nasr due to suspension.
Despite those win earlier in the competition, Lamouchi knows the results count for nothing as the two teams prepare to battle it out for a place in the final against either Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors or FC Seoul, both of Korea Republic.
“We know Al Ain very well and they have great history in the AFC Champions League,’ said Lamouchi of the inaugural tournament winners. “I know that we are a strong side and they have never lost twice in the competition in the same week, which means that we should be expecting a tough match.
“We have previously defeated them but things now will be harder because they now know how we play and things will not be easy. I’m very confident that our players will be able to get a positive result in the two matches.”