Preview: Al Ain vs Lokomotiv

UAE Arabian Gulf League side Al Ain play at home against Uzbek side Lokomotiv in the AFC Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.

Al Ain, who won the Champions League in 2003 and were runners-up two years later, will be the favourites going into Tuesday's first leg as their opponents Lokomotiv who are far less experienced at this level.

Al Ain so far:
They kicked off the campaign in the worst possible way in the group stages with back-to-back 2-1 defeats to Qatari side El Jaish but thereafter won the next three of their next four games to reach the knockout stage. 

In the last 16 first leg, they drew 1-1 with Iranian side Zobahan in UAE but advanced 3-1 on aggregate after winning 2-0 in the second leg.   

In domestic football, Al Ain have still to get their league season underway in mid-September against Baniyas.

Players to watch out for:
Brazilian forward Douglas is the Al Ain dangerman having scored four goals in the tournament and 24-year-old midfielder Omar Abdulrahman, who is regarded as one of the big talents in Asian football.

Just in case

Al Ain are coached by former Croatian midfielder Zlatko Dalic, who has been in charge since 2014 leading them to the UAE league title in 2015. 

Lokomotiv so far:
The Uzbek side are the only unbeaten team in this season’s competition with three wins and five draws in eight games. They are very solid in defence having only let in four goals so far in AFC Champions League football.

They stunned Al Hilal in the round of 16 after drawing 0-0 in Riyadh and winning the second leg 2-1 to become the third Uzbek side to reach the quarter-finals.

In domestic football, Lokomotiv have been in great form and are unbeaten in the Uzbek League after 19 games.

Players to watch out for:
The star player of the Lokomotiv side is veteran midfielder Server Djeparov who has played a pivotal role in the side's AFC Champions League campaign dominating in midfield. Another player who is dangerous is forward Temurkhuja Abdukholikov who has scored three goals so far.

Lokomotiv are coached by Andrey Miklyaev, who was promoted after being an assistant coach for two seasons. Under his reign, the side are doing very well and top the Uzbek League, have reached semi-finals of the domestic cup and now are in the Champions League knockout stage for the first time ever.

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