Al Ittihad coach Khalid Al Koroni has hailed Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan as “one of the best strikers in the AFC Champions League” but insists the two-time champions can deal with the threat posed by the tournament’s leading scorer in next month’s quarter-final.
Gyan has already scored one of his 10 continental goals against Al Ittihad this season as inaugural AFC Champions League winners Al Ain earlier topped Group C despite losing 2-1 in Mekkah before sharing a 1-1 draw in the return fixture.
But after Al Ittihad secured a third AFC Champions League quarter-final appearance in four years by edging out domestic rivals Al Shabab in the last 16, Al Koroni is eyeing further progress despite the presence of Gyan.
“Gyan is one of the best strikers in the AFC Champion League, and also he was the captain of the Ghana national team at the recent FIFA World Cup,” said Al Koroni, who led Saudi Arabia to the final of the AFC U-22 Championship in January prior to succeeding Juan Verzeri as Al Ittihad coach in February.
“But we have very good and very experienced players in every position in our team, and we know what to expect as Gyan has played two matches against Al Ittihad already in the AFC Champions League this season.”
Al Ittihad will first travel to Al Ain on August 19 before the return fixture takes place a week later with Al Koroni’s side unbeaten against the Emirati side in the AFC Champions League this season.