Khalil hopes to fire Al Ahli to glory

Room for Improvement: Former Champions Kashima & Guangzhou must step up

Al Ahli captain Ahmed Khalil hopes he can end what has been an impressive season for him with a victory over Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League final.

The United Arab Emirates side faces the Chinese Super League champions in the first leg of the continental final at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai.

The 24-year-old has been in fine form for his club and the UAE national side, and is currently the second highest scorer in the Champions League with six strikes to his name.

Only one side from the UAE have ever reached the continental final – 2003 runners-up Al Ain – and the 2008 AFC Young Player of the Year is well-aware of the importance of Saturday's match.

"This is something normal, a challenge between me and myself to improve. I wanted to produce better performances during the season especially after the last one," Khalil told the official AFC website.

"I always aim to be amongst the best players or scorers in every competition. Since the start of the competition, this is the competition between me and myself.

"I always hope that this doesn't affect the team play. In the end, we are all looking for a win and let's hope we achieve it."

Although winning the AFC Champions League will be a great achievement for all the Al Ahli players, it would be particularly meaningful for Khalil, who has been with the Dubai club since the age of seven.

"We have a responsibility as players, but we are up to the challenge. I hope we use all our might in this match because we have a chance to achieve success," added Khalil.

"We'll see what the manager's advice is, and prepare for the match well. Let's hope we win.

"Guangzhou are a strong team and we know they have prepared for the match," said Khalil, who had also scored twice at the start of the new domestic league season to help Al Ahli maintain a 100% record after five games.

"Guangzhou are a good team, but we believe we can show a good picture of ourselves."