What's at stake, player recruitment, where to buy tickets and what time the first leg kicks off at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
All you need to know about Al Ain's Asian Champions League quarter-final against Al Hilal
Al Ain resume their quest to win the Asian Champions League next Monday when they host Al Hilal at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in the first leg of the quarter-finals. Here are the details.
What is at stake
Al Ain are attempting to lift the Champions League for the second time having claimed the title in 2003. As such, they remain the only UAE side to have won the continent’s premier club competition. The current crop came agonisingly close last November to emulating that feat, but they were defeated 3-2 on aggregate in the final by South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Douglas, the recently recalled Brazilian forward, missed a penalty in the second leg at home, which played a huge part in Al Ain losing out on the title.
Current state of play
Al Ain returned last week from a three-week training camp in Austria. The Garden City club, 12-time UAE champions, ended last season without any silverware – the second successive campaign they have done so. Nevertheless, manager Zoran Mamic has added to his squad Sweden international striker Marcus Berg, from Panathinaikos, and Japanese defensive midfielder Tsukasa Shiotani, from Sanfrecce Hiroshima. And of course, in captain Omar Abdulrahman, Al Ain boast the reigning Asian Player of the Year. The UAE playmaker leads the competition currently in goals scored (7) and assists (6).
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The next assignment
Al Hilal represent formidable opponents, having last season won the Saudi Pro League for the first time since 2011. Managed by Ramon Diaz, the Riyadh side are unbeaten in this year’s Champions League and have recent history in the tournament against Al Ain: in 2014, Hilal defeated their Emirati rivals in the semi-finals before losing an ill-tempered final against Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers. Hilal have won every major Asian club competition except for the Champions League since its rebrand in 2002. Omar Khribin, the former Al Dhafra forward, is one of several impressive summer recruits.
For now, tickets for the match are available at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium and at Al Ain Mall.
The match in Al Ain is slated to kick off at 7.50pm.