When Al Ain take to the field at the Ashgabat Stadium in Turkmenistan today at six o’clock UAE time to face their hosts Ahal, they will be grateful for their strong start to secure early qualification for the round of sixteen. The AFC Champions League will play the match at Al-Saime Stadium. The stadium is of poor quality as it is made of artificial turf and the temperature can reach five degrees during the match.
The most unsettling thing for the Al Ain players’ nerves is that both sides will have a match without any real purpose as they are only doing duty. Even if Al-Zaim secures its promotion in Group A, the hosts will have no chance of qualifying for the next round if the other rivals lose.
The clash will be an opportunity for Argentina coach Hernán Crespo to give the substitutes a chance again after fielding them in the last round match against Bakhtakor. A score of 1-3, but it also showed a poor performance from the reserves.
The team’s representatives for Turkmenistan consisted of 18 players, including only four starters, the rest of whom were rested, namely Togolese top scorer, Laba Kodjo and Paraguayan, Alejandro Kagu, South Korean midfielder Park. In the League Championship game against Shabab Al-Ahly, Young missed out due to injury.
Al Ain lead the group stages with 12 full points from five matches, seven points for Bakhtakor, six for Al Fayha and four for Al Ahl.
Al Ain beat Bakhtakor 3-0 in the first round in Tashkent, won 4-2 against Ahal in the second round, and defeated Al-Fayha 4-1 in the third round to beat the Saudis 3-0. -2 in the fourth round in Riyadh, thus losing 1-3 in the last round to ensure early qualification.
In the second match within the same group, Uzbekistan’s Bakhtakor will meet its guests Saudi Arabia’s Al-Fayha at the same time at the Milli Stadium in the capital city of Tashkent, and the hosts “The Leader” through the gate of the best seconds.
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