Quique future still in doubt despite win

Martyn Thomas 22:58 26/02/2014
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Quique's saviour: Gyan's goal may be enough to convince Al Ain to stick with Flores.

If Quique Sanchez Flores is shown the door at Al Ain he will leave with his head held high after the Boss secured a 2-1 victory over Lekhwiya in the AFC Champions League.

Ibrahim Diaky gave the hosts the lead in the 12th minute at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium but it did not prove to be a comfortable half with the Qataris finding an equaliser through Vladimir Weiss before the break.

The Boss were much improved after the break and retook the lead when Asamoah Gyan hammered home to give them their first win at their new stadium.

Whether it’s enough to keep their coach in a job only time will tell.

It is only natural that the uncertainty over Sanchez Flores’ future would have an effect on the team, and Al Ain started the game looking bereft of confidence.

That is not a recipe for success when you are playing a side top of the Qatar Stars League (QSL) but against the run of play it was the hosts that took the lead.

Yassine El Ghanassy won the ball in a tackle on the left flank, before finding Gyan in space who in turn picked out Mirel Radoi.

The Romanian hit a thunderous first-time drive from 20 yards that careered back off the post, and though, the rebound evaded Alex Brosque, Diaky was able to side-foot his side into the lead.

The goal did not appear to calm Al Ain’s nerves and they were grateful to a couple of timely interventions from recently maligned keeper Khalid Essa to keep them in the lead.

However there was nothing the UAE international could do as Weiss pulled Lekhwiya level with five minutes of the half remaining.

The Slovakian still had plenty of work to do having been found by the impressive Youssef Msakni, but he did it with aplomb as he turned inside Mohanad Salem and without breaking stride lofted a left-footed chip over the stranded Essa.

The equaliser arrived to a chorus of boos but the Boss almost found themselves in front again, only to see Ismail Ahmed’s flicked header drop just wide of the far post.

The mood did not lighten at half-time as cameras inside the ground panned to show the watching Omar Abdulrahman in the stands, but the Boss were more positive after the break.

Gyan fired an early warning shot but the hosts would have to survive two scares before retaking the lead. Essa was again alert to cut a cross from Sebastian Soria before the Qatar international flashed a header wide.

The collective heart rate in the stadium was rising by the minute but within seconds of El Ghanassy setting pulses racing with a fine run and shot before Gyan restored his side’s lead.

As Lekhwiya tried to clear their lines, Diaky nicked in before recycling the ball to Ahmed Barman before the young midfielder produced a fine through ball to set the Ghanaian racing through.

Gyan didn’t even need a touch as he powered a first-time effort from the edge of the 18-yard box past Lacomte.

The goal did not calm tensions in the stadium though with a section of supporters closest to the home dugout involved in an angry exchange shortly after Gyan’s intervention.

Diaky had the chance to extend the Boss’ lead following an exchange with El Ghanassy but it didn’t matter as the hosts held on amidst delirious scenes.

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