Ricardo Oliveira has led the way with 10 goals for Al Jazira to top the scoring charts in the AFC Champions League
Former Brazil and AC Milan marksman Ricardo Oliveira, seen here on May 2, is aiming to add to his remarkable tally for Sheikh Mansour's Al Jazira as the AFC Champions League race hots up this week. © - - AFP/File
Ricardo Oliveira has led the way with 10 goals for Al Jazira to top the scoring charts in the AFC Champions League
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Talek Harris, AFP
Last updated: May 22, 2012

Oliveira boosts Al Jazira in Asian Champions League

Former Brazil and AC Milan marksman Ricardo Oliveira is aiming to add to his remarkable tally for Sheikh Mansour's Al Jazira as the AFC Champions League race hots up this week.

The South American star has led the way with 10 goals for the Abu Dhabi club -- including all four in this month's 4-3 win against Al Rayyan -- to top the scoring charts in the pan-Asian competition.

The exploits of Oliveira, a La Liga winner with Valencia, meant the team of oil billionaire Sheikh Mansour, who also owns newly crowned English champions Manchester City, dropped just two points en route to the last 16.

Now Al Jazira can be the first into the quarter-finals as they host Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli on Tuesday. But Oliveira, 32, remains modest about the sudden rush of goals late in his career.

"It is my job. I want to do my best in every game," he told UAE newspaper The National. "I hope I can continue to contribute to my team and help them to more success.

"I am looking ahead in helping my club to achieve their objectives and I wish I can help them every way I can. At the end, success of a player is measured by what the team has achieved."

Oliveira's sister was kidnapped for several months while he was at AC Milan and it's the Brazilian's grounded attitude, as well as his goals, that has made him a hit with fans and colleagues.

"He is always with a smile," team manager Mohammed Salem Al Enazi told The National. "He is very easy to deal with because he is very disciplined and knows what the club expects from him."

Together with Australia skipper Lucas Neill, and fellow Brazilian Bare, Oliveira is part of a formidable outfit which is now aiming to add Asian silverware to Sheikh Mansour's trophy cabinet.

"He has shared all his experience with me," team-mate Abdulla Qasem was quoted as saying. "He has not only helped me improve my game but have learnt a great deal on dealing with off-field matters as a professional player."

In Tuesday's other action, Iranian champions Sepahan will take on close domestic rivals Esteghlal as the one-off round of 16, spread over four nights, gets under way.

On Wednesday, Al Ittihad entertain Iran's Piroozi Athletic in Jeddah in a simultaneous Saudi Arabian double-header as Al Hilal face the UAE's Baniyas in Riyadh.

Next week's highlight comes when 2006 World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi leads out his new club, Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande, against FC Tokyo on Wednesday.

The Italian, who also won the 1996 European Champions League with Juventus, was a shock replacement last week for South Korea's Lee Jang-Soo, who departed with Guangzhou top of the league and qualified for the Asian knock-out round.

Australia's Adelaide United will bid to extend their dream run from the play-offs as they host Japan's Nagoya Grampus next Tuesday, while 2010 winners Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma play Uzbek champions Bunyodkor.

Next week's other match is between South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai and Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol on Wednesday.

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