Al Ain edge Lokomotiv to make final four

Al Ain secured a 1-0 win away from home over Lokomotiv Tashkent in their AFC Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

Caio would net the only goal of the evening at Stadion Bunyodkor in Tashkent, scoring in the 39th minute.

The Brazilian proved the difference on a night where Al Ain showed superb defence to weather the Lokomotiv attacking storm late in the second half.

The result sees the UAE club advance to the semi-finals of the competition where they will face either Qatar’s Al Jaish or fellow UAE team Al Nasr, who play on Wednesday.

A cagey opening stanza saw the first real effort at goal eventually come from Lokomotiv captain Timur Kapadze in the 20th minute, but his long range bomb was dealt with comfortable by Al Ain stopper Khalid Eisa, who enjoyed a superb night with the gloves.

Towards the end of the half, the visitors began to control proceedings, with Omar Abdulrahman pulling strings on attack.

The pressure told, as Caio went on a powerful run through the Lokomotiv defence before passing to Douglas. While his shot was blocked by Kaki Makharadze, Caio picked up the pieces with his right foot to give Al Ain the lead.

Al Ain would have another opportunity early in the second half, but Ignatiy Nesterov denied Asprilla on the line after a counter-attack.

The close call seemed to inspire Lokomotiv, as they spent the rest of the half creating ample chances, but just could not get the ball over the line.

Two-time AFC Player of the Year Server Djeparov would force two saves from Eisa in two minutes, the latter from an accurate free kick.

Sardor Mirzayev would then strike the post after connecting a cross from Djeparov, while Ikromjon Alibaev’s shot would force a world class save from Eisa, who tipped it over the bar.

Deep into injury time, Eisa was again called on, making another fine reflex save to deny Marat Bimaev from close range.

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