Abu Dhabi: “Sometimes a smart car can beat a Mercedes.” That was the message from Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic, who will hope his side can pull away first at the traffic lights ahead of Real Madrid in Saturday’s historic Fifa Club World Cup final at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi from 8.30pm.
“When you compare a small smart car with a big Mercedes, maybe one time the smart car will win if the Mercedes’s machine breaks,” said the Croatian ahead of his side’s unthinkable encounter against a team who have won four of the last five Uefa Champions League titles, the past three of which were consecutive.
“You go into every game to win, even if you play against Real Madrid, you have a dream, you think you have luck, you think you can have a very good day.
“If Real miss some chances everything is possible, we have to believe, we have to try. After the game if we can look in the mirror and say we gave everything, then we can say bravo Real and continue.
“I want to win every game, also tomorrow’s, but on the other side I have to be clear with myself that Madrid is smart and we are outsiders.”
Al Ain come into this encounter having already seen off South America champions River Plate 5-4 on penalties in Tuesday’s semis. Before that they beat Oceania champions Wellington 4-3 on penalties in the play-off and African champions ES Tunis in the quarters.
Real on the other hand got a bye into the last four and only had to beat Kashima Antlers 3-1 in their semi final on Wednesday, therefore Al Ain may come into this game more exhausted.
“It won’t be easy, this is our fourth match in a short time and the team is very tired, but we will be ready and have a big motivation to represent Al Ain and this country in a good way to make it difficult for Real,” said Mamic.
“The strength of Real Madrid is the whole team. Any player can decide the match. We don’t know what side will be more dangerous that’s why we focus on all sides and teamwork together. Only as a team can we make a good game and get a good result.”
Real have had their worst start to a season in 17 years, and come in to this game with their worst scoring record at this stage of a season in 25 years.
“I don’t think Real will think it’s going to be an easy match,” said Mamic. “Maybe they are not in the best moment because they’ve had some difficulties, but they are still the biggest team in the world.
“We have to be on the highest possible level, we have to be lucky and we have to have a great goalkeeper. Maybe the guy on the pitch also has to make our goal a little smaller.”
Of Al Ain keeper Khalid Eisa who won two man-of-the-match awards for his side’s penalty wins against ES Tunis and River, where he made the decisive saves, Mamic added: “He’s definitely the best keeper in the country.
“He’s not the tallest, but his jump is very good. He’s very fast. When we talked after extra time he asked me: ‘coach what do I have to do?’ My suggestion was to wait, because he is very fast. He confirmed he’s one great keeper.”
And about Mamic’s reunion with Real’s Ballon d’Or winning midfielder Luka Modric, with whom he managed and played alongside while the pair were at Dinamo Zagreb, he said: “I will talk to him of course, but he’s won many trophies this year so maybe he can leave one with us.”