Al Ahli coach Cosmin Olaroiu has warned his players not to be satisfied with a place in the AFC Champions League semi-finals after booking a two-legged clash with Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal late on Wednesday.
The Red Knights sealed their last-four place with a 2-1 win at home to Naft Tehran, giving them a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Iranian side. Next up will be Olaroiu’s former employers Al Hilal in Riyadh on September 29, with the return match in Dubai set for October 20.
The Red Knights have now become the third team from the UAE to reach the Champions League semi-finals after Al Ain (2003, 2005 and 2014) and Al Wahda (2008). They had failed to advance to the knockout stages in their previous four attempts.
“We have to congratulate the players for their huge effort and the management for all the support and belief they have shown us as we make history for the club. I told the players that they are representatives of the UAE, and by achieving a semi-final spot they have made the whole country proud,” Olaroiu told media after the match.
“But the most important thing is that we don’t have to stop here. We have worked hard and made huge sacrifices and so it is right that we go all the way. I have told them that they need to push themselves till the end.”
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