Dubai: Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic felt hard done by after his young side lost 2-1 at home to Al Nasr in round two of the Arabian Gulf Cup on Monday.
Caio Lucas cancelled out Iury’s early opener after the first half hour to pull the hosts level before Salem Saleh netted the Blues’ winner on 84 minutes.
“We didn’t deserve to lose the match given our performance,” said Mamic. “I believe a draw would have been a fairer result.”
“I know it’s very hard to compensate for 11 key players. However I am pleased with the young squad’s potential and energy,” he added.
Al Ain are now third in Group B on three points, three points behind leaders Al Nasr and one point behind second-placed Al Jazira, after opening with a 4-1 win away to Sharjah last week.
The Arabian Gulf Cup pitches 14 teams into two groups of seven, whereby the top two progress to a semis after six rounds of matches.
“Our main goal in this competition is to make players feel confident and gain more experience,” said Mamic. “I have full confidence in their potential to qualify from the group.”
“We have to take advantage of the skill and quality we have especially in coming confrontations given our tight schedule as well as the schedule of the UAE national team,” he continued.
In Monday’s other Group B games, Al Jazira were held to a 1-1 draw away to Emirates and Al Dhafra fought back to 2-2 away to Fujairah. Sunday saw Group A leaders Al Wahda beat Al Wasl 3-0 at home, second-placed Bani Yas beat Dibba 3-0 at home and third-placed Ajman won 4-1 away to Kalba.