Ahmed: If you’re not first, you’re last

Al Ain's Ismail Ahmed revealed that the entire season is on the line at the AFC Champions League Final ahead of the first leg on Saturday.

The defender will be hoping to keep Al Ain's ten-match undefeated run in the competition going and while facing Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium will not be easy, Ahemd is feeling confident. 

"This final is important because finishing second is the same as finishing last in this competition," quipped the 33-year-old in a press conference.

"We are confident that we will bring joy to our families' hearts in the Emirates and to the Al Ain fans, by bringing back home a positive result.

"We know Jeonbuk and have studied them, as they have us. They are a side who rely on quick counter-attacks and they play on the flanks. We know that they play as one unit and this is one of their characteristics."

The UAE outfit last lifted the AFC Champions League trophy in 2003 and were runners-up in 2005. What has followed since has been a poor run by their high standards, so the enormity of the occasion this season is not lost on the players.

"Every professional player dreams of reaching the AFC Champions League final, for me and my teammates, reaching the final is so important," added Ahmed.

"I will do my best to ensure we get a clean sheet in the game and prove that I am a good defender – this is my job.

"We are prepared for them, we are not afraid, and we are capable of achieving a good result.

"The AFC Champions League is important for all our fans and we are capable of achieving this title with the help of the players and support of our officials in the club."