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AFC Champions League Review: Al Ain progress with Al Rayyan hammering

Al Ain players celebrate the win.

Doha, April 17: The UAE's Al Ain club crushed Al Rayyan 4-1 away to make sure of progression from AFC Champions League Group D, with Swedish striker Marcus Berg netting twice as the Qatari club's campaign in the continental competition ended on a dismal note.

Zoran Mamic's men began the day just a point ahead of their hosts in the crucial final group game at Doha's Al Sadd Stadium, but in the end there was clear daylight between the two sides.

Hussein El Shahat gave the visitors the lead after just 11 minutes and they managed to hold off any fightback from Al Rayyan, despite Mohsine Moutouali hitting the post late in the first half.

Omar Abdulrahman doubled the advantage early in the second period with a stunning free-kick and Al Ain subsequently became a potent threat on the counter.

And that is exactly how they punished Al Rayyan three minutes later - Berg finishing off a break before doing so again late on, rendering Sebastian Soria's goal five minutes from time a mere consolation.

"We're disappointed. We couldn't complete our target of reaching the knockout stage," said Ali Salem Afifa, Rayyan's Head of Football.

Al Ain finished second in the group with 10 points, two points behind Iran's Esteghlal while Rayyan finished third in the group with six points.

Esteghlal will play Group B runners-up while Ain will face Group B winners Al Duhail in the Round of 16.

Meanwhile, Persepolis pipped Al Sadd to top spot in Group C, beating them 1-0 thanks to Morteza Pouraliganji's third-minute own goal.

Nasaf finish two points adrift of Al Sadd despite beating pointless Al Wasl 2-1 on the road, while the other game in Group D saw Esteghlal win 1-0 at Al Hilal to make sure of progression as table-toppers.

(With OPTA/Agency inputs)

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Story first published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 1:30 [IST]
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