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Khaseif hails Almunia
December 08, 2017
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Al Ain: Ali Khaseif, who pulled off seven saves to help Al Jazira edge Auckland City in the opening match of the Club World Cup, hailed the influence of Jazira goalkeeper coach Manuel Almunia.

“I managed that with the help of god and our goalkeeper coach, Almunia,” said Khaseif.

“He gives me so much encouragement at training. And my team-mates’ performances are also a source of motivation, ” he added.

Al Jazira custodian and captain Khaseif proved this at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday by leading by example during the Emirati champions’ victory.

After defeating Auckland City, Khaseif’s skills will next be put to the test against the Asian champions, Urawa Red Diamonds, at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday.

“There are no minnows in this tournament, and we saw what Urawa are capable of in the Asian Champions League,” said Khaseif.

“Now that we’ve conquered our fears, we must represent Emirati football with honour.”

Although Brazilian forward Romarinho powered home the only goal of the game in impressive fashion, it was Khaseif who attracted most of the post-match plaudits.

“I tried to pass on my experience to the younger players during the match, as a lot of them are performing at this level for the first time,” said the 30-year-old shot-stopper.

Former Arsenal No1 Almunia was extremely satisfied with his protégé’s display: “Ali was exceptional and showed remarkable confidence. He played really well. This competition is the perfect fit for him, because he’s a top ’keeper, as he proved today.”

Fans ecstatic

Al Jazira fans were delighted after their victory in the CWC opener.

“What a perfect start to the tournament. This result keeps the dream alive for football fans across the UAE. We send our warmest congratulations to Al Jazira. The ‘Pride of Abu Dhabi’ have shown tonight that anything is possible in the FIFA Club World Cup,” said a fan.

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