[ 2011-12-27 ]
Asamoah Gyan the inspiration behind Al Ain's quest for a 10th league title
While socks don’t feature too high on Asamoah
Gyan’s Christmas wishlist, come the end of the UAE
Pro League season the Ghanaian will surely be
celebrating gifts of a very different kind.
A deadly double in Al Ain’s 3-1 win over reigning
champions Al Jazira last Thursday maintained his
side’s unbeaten start to the season and continued
his own stunning start to life in the Emirates as
he took his goalscoring tally for the season to 12
in as many games.
It was a match-winning performance that more than
vindicated the praise afforded to him by Jazira
boss Franky Vercauteren who hailed Gyan as “the
most efficient and most important player in the
Pro League” in the build-up to the
top-of-the-table Christmas cracker.
And so he proved with a devilish display of pace,
power and finishing prowess that ultimately proved
Jazira’s undoing as they succumbed to just their
second defeat of the campaign.
On this evidence Gyan is a shoe-in for the Golden
Boot this season.
It’s no wonder then that one of Martin O’Neill’s
first acts as Sunderland boss was to express an
interest in bringing the club’s record signing
back to the club from his season-long loan at the
Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Stadium.
Gyan however is committed to the cause in the
Garden city. Labelled a mercenary for turning his
back on the bright lights of the Premier League to
join Al Ain in a reported world record £6million
loan deal last September, Gyan has settled well
into life in the UAE.
“I know people will be wondering why I moved to
the Middle East, but it’s up to me,” the striker
said in a recent interview. “Whoever said I went
for money needs to think twice. I made a decision
with my family and the most important thing was
for me to be happy and to be with my family. I’ve
started to score some goals, I’m enjoying myself
and it’s a new experience for me.”
Al Ain’s victory over Jazira, rendered even more
impressive as it came in the champions’ own
backyard, increased their lead at the top of the
table to four points over their opponents while
their other rivals – namely Al Wasl and Al Ahli –
continue to struggle for consistency.
It marks a stunning turnaround for a club that
just 12 months ago was in the midsts of a wretched
campaign which only saw them avoid the ignominy of
relegation in the final few weeks of the season,
eventually finishing 10th.
Fastforward to present day and the transformation
has been nothing short of miraculous. Credit for
that must go to Romanian coach Cosmin Olariou, who
has instilled belief and discipline in the side
following his appointment in the summer.
The 42-year-old has a proven track record having
led Steaua Bucharest to the UEFA Cup semi-finals
in 2006, the same season as they also won the
domestic double with league and cup triumphs. And
he appears to have found that winning formula in
Olarious’s fellow Romanian Mirel Radoi has been
another standout performer for the side whether
deployed in defence or in the holding midfield
role with his influence just as noteworth as
Argentine schemer Ignacio Scocco, a summer capture
from AEK Athens, has also been a shrewd purchase
with the diminutive midfielder providing a
subtlety to Al Ain’s play that was evidently
lacking last season and the ammunition for Gyan.
Tough tests await in 2012 for The Boss, with
Gyan’s enforced absence due to his involvement in
the African Cup of Nations potentially
Jazira’s strength in depth and their title-winning
nous coupled with Al Shabab’s attacking verve
ought to ensure both sides there or thereabouts
come the end of the campaign.
However, from what we have been treated to so far
from Gyan and Co. don’t expect the wheels to come
tumbling off as Al Ain eye an unprecedented 10th
Source - Sports360.com
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