Printer Friendly and PDF

Al Ain: Coach Laurentiu Reghecampf believes should Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal score the first goal in Tuesday's AFC Champions League semi-final second leg against Al Ain, the two-time Asian champions will secure a return to the continental final for the first time in 13 years.

Nassir Al Shamrani scored twice while Thiago Neves was also on target in a nine minute spell in the second half two weeks ago in Riyadh as two-time Asian Club Championship winners Al Hilal eased to victory against 10-man Al Ain at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

And with inaugural AFC Champions League winners Al Ain knowing they must score at least three goals in 90 minutes in the return fixture at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Romanian coach Reghecampf is looking for his side pick up where they left off in Riyadh to secure a return to the final for the first time since winning the 2000 Asian Club Championship.

"We made an important step in Riyadh and we are her to get a better result. If we score first, it will guarantee qualification. We are relaxed following a 3-0 win," said Reghecampf.

"We would like to play the same way as we did in Riyadh, with the same confidence and determination.

"I am happy to be coach of a team with high confidence and determination and I would like to see them in the final by reaching the highest levels."

Following the first leg, Al Hilal have maintained their unbeaten start to the new Saudi Pro League season following wins over Al Khaleej and Al Fateh.

But despite his confidence, Reghecampf know Al Hilal must be wary of Al Ain's Asamoah Gyan with the Ghana striker the leading scorer in the AFC Champions League this season with 12 goals.

"We must respect what we are doing. We will not just play for the sake of playing. We must play fair and respect our opponent and play to win, and that is our target," added Reghecampf.

"We did not see Gyan attack in the first leg, but his fame does not come from nothing and we must be cautious about his attacks."

Striker Yasser Al Qahtani was in the Al Hilal team who won the first leg of their 2010 AFC Champions League quarter-final with Qatar's Al Gharafa 3-0 at home before needing extra-time to claim a 4-2 victory in the second leg.

"We play a different style now. The players in this team are different mentally. We gained some experience from that situation in 2010, and having won the first game 3-0, we must make use of that," said Al Qahtani, who played one season for Al Ain in 2011/12, scoring seven goals in 15 league appearances as they won the league title.

"We won the first half of the match in Riyadh and we have determination and we will win the second game. We are here to win and nothing else."