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Al-Ain 5-1 Yokohama F.Marinos: Exclusive report as Hernan Crespo’s side win the AFC Champions League

Al-Ain beat Yokohama F.Marinos in the AFC Champions League final 6-3 on aggregate and were crowned as the Asian Champion.

Al-Ain faced Yokohama F.Marinos in the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in the second leg of the AFC Champions League final. Having lost the first leg 2-1 in Japan, Al-Ain won the first half 2-1 to level the tie. Just before half-time, Yokohama’s keeper was sent off and they were down to 10 men.

In the second half, it was Soufiane Rahimi who scored his second goal in the 67th minute to make it 3-1 and put Al-Ain ahead in the tie. Kodjo Laba who came in as a sub, scored two goals in the last minutes to make it an emphatic victory for the hosts.

Join us in this report to find out how Al-Ain won the AFC Champions League.

Road to the AFC Champions League Final

Al-Ain topped their group and beat Nasaf Qarshi from Uzbekistan to reach the quarter-finals. Then they faced Al Nassr and Cristiano Ronaldo and eliminated them in a penalty shoot-out after a 4-4 draw in aggregate. In the semi-finals, Al-Ain beat Al Hilal 5-4 over two legs to qualify for the AFC Champions League final from the West region.

Yokohama F.Marinos also performed well from the beginning and finished first in the group stage. They defeated Bangkok United and Shandong Taishan to reach the semi-finals. Yokohama then faced Ulsan Hyundai and beat them in penalties to reach the AFC Champions League from the East region.

AFC Champions League Final-First Leg

In the first leg in Japan, Mohammed Abbas put the visitors ahead early in the game, but the Japanese came back late thanks to goals from Uenaka and Watanabe to win the match 2-1.

Al-Ain vs Yokohama: AFC Champions League Final Second Leg Play-by-Play

Al-Ain started off better and took the lead in the 8th minute. A good team play resulted in a run and a cut-back pass from Yahia Nader to Soufiane Rahimi and the striker made no mistake in front of the goal to put the host ahead.

After a couple of missed chances from Ken Matsubara, Shinnosuke Hatanaka, and Kota Watanabe also failed to score the equalizer for the visitors. Al-Ain responded well to these threats in the 29th minute and they got a penalty by VAR intervention as Hatanaka fouled Ramini in the area. Kaku converted the penalty to make it 2-0 for Hernan Crespo’s team.

In the 40th minute, the visitors finally found the net. Yan Matheus scored with a left-footed drive from the edge of the box to cut the lead to one. With this goal from Harry Kewell’s team, the tie was level, 3-3 on aggregate.

With seconds remaining in the first half, Yokohama’s goalkeeper William Pop fouled Soufiane Rahimi outside the box and the Ref sent him off. Kewell made a substitution and Fuma Shirasaka came onto the pitch for Jose Elber. Al-Ain’s freekick came to nothing and the first half ended 2-1 after 62 minutes.

Second Half Report

The host dominated the Japanese who were down to 10 men from the beginning of the second half. After a couple of blocked attempts by Saeed Jumaa and Matias Palacios, they came close to scoring from a corner as Kouadio’s header went over the bar.

In the 67th minute, Soufiane Rahimi who was brilliant tonight, scored his second goal. He dribbled past one defender and came into the box before hitting a left-footed shot that found the back of the net. He received a yellow card after the goal for taking off his shirt.

Ten minutes later, Al-Ain scored another goal through Romero, but it was ruled out for offside. They were clearly the better team in the second half and the visitors rarely had a chance to score.

In the added time, Kodjo Laba scored two well-worked goals within four minutes and Al-Ain won the match 5-1. They beat Yokohama 6-3 on aggregate and were crowned as the Asian champions for the second time in their history.

Man of the Match: Soufiane Rahimi

Rahimi did everything he wanted in the first half. He scored the all-important first goal early in the match. Then, he won a penalty that Kuka converted and in the last moments, his run behind the opposition’s defensive line resulted in a red card for Yokohama’s keeper.

In the second half, Soufiane Rahimi scored in the 68th minute to put his side ahead in the tie. It was probably the performance of his life as he led Al-Ain to Asian glory.

Alex Lundy
Alex Lundy
A lifelong football fan, Alex loves to dabble in its history, especially FIFA World Cup. But his love for sports doesn't end at football since he loves watching NBA and Formula1 too. Reading novels and watching classic films takes the rest of his time.
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