Al Duhail overpower Al Ain in ACL Round of 16

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Al Duhail laid down a marker of their AFC Champions League intent on Tuesday with a 4-2 Round of 16 first-leg win over Al Ain.

The Qatari visitors broke the deadlock at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in the 16th minute when Youssef El-Arabi fired home on the rebound, after his initial effort had been saved by Khalid Eisa.

Six minutes before halftime, a brilliant counterattack saw Duhail double their advantage with Nam Tae-hee receiving possession from Ismaeel Mohammad and bursting through the middle from inside his own half before finishing into the back of the net.

A third goal arrived three minutes after the restart following a poor clearance by Ismail Ahmed; El-Arabi releasing Ismaeel to lift his shot over the onrushing Khalid.

And, five minutes before the hour mark, the contest looked a foregone conclusion when Nam cleverly poked a first-time pass through to Ali Almoez, who advanced on goal and kept his composure to find the bottom corner.

Nonetheless, the hosts pulled one back in the 68th minute when substitute Ahmed Khalil found space at the back post, meeting Omar Abdulrahman’s lofted delivery with a deft header past Amine Lecomte.

And, with four minutes remaining, another one of Al Ain manager Zoran Mamic’s substitutes Ibrahim Diaky – less than a minute after coming on – reduced the deficit further, converting a rebound after Lecomte could only parry a powerful freekick from Khalil.

Nonetheless, any hopes the Emirati hosts had of mounting a memorable late fightback was effectively ended a minute into injury-time, as Brazilian forward Caio was shown a straight red for kicking out at Bassam Al-Rawi off the ball.

And, despite the blemish of conceding two goals in what was otherwise a commanding display, Duhail will still be confident in their chances of seeing the job through next Tuesday in the second leg on home soil.

AL AIN: Khalid Eisa, Bandar Al-Ahbabi (Ibrahim Diaky 86’), Mohamed Ahmed, Ismail Ahmed, Tsukasa Shiotani, Ahmed Barman (Ahmed Khalil 59’), Mohammad Abdulrahman, Amer Abdulrahman (Rayan Yaslam 46’), Omar Abdulrahman, Caio, Marcus Berg.

AL DUHAIL: Amine Lecomte, Murad Naji, Mohammed Musa, Dame Traore, Sultan Al-Brake (Khalid Muftah 90+3’), Karim Boudiaf (Bassam Al-Rawi 63’), Luiz Junior, Ismaeel Mohammad, Nam Tae-hee, Almoez Ali (Ali Afif 77’), Youssef El-Arabi.

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