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AFC Champions League | Quarter-Finals | 1st Leg
Mar 4, 2024 at 4pm UK
Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium

1 - 0

Rahimi (44')
Al Ahbabi (15'), Romero (45+6'), Essa (82'), Al Baloushi (83'), Al Shamsi (90+11')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Yahya (66'), Al Nemer (76'), Al Amri (90+15')
Laporte (90+4')

Preview: Al-Ain vs. Al-Nassr - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's AFC Champions League clash between Al-Ain and Al-Nassr, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Al-Ain welcome Al-Nassr to the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium for the first leg of their AFC Champions League on Monday evening.

The hosts advanced to this stage after a 2-1 aggregate victory over Nasaf in the round of 16, while the visitors put three past Al Feiha across both legs to reach this round.

Match preview

Sao Paulo coach Hernan Crespo during the match on May 5, 2021© Reuters

Fourteen-time UAE Pro League champions Al-Ain are looking to claim continental glory for only the second time in their history. Since triumphing in 2003, the Bosses have only reached the finals twice, in 2005 and 2016.

Al Ain cruised through the group stages, finishing at the top of Group A with 15 points from a possible 18, setting up a clash against Uzbek Super League side Nasaf in the round of 16.

After a goalless first leg, Al-Ain secured a 2-1 victory in the second leg at home to advance to the quarter-final stage, where they now face Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr in what will be just their third meeting ever.

The previous two encounters came during the group stage of this competition in 2021, with both sides claiming one win each.

Al-Ain's only defeat in this season's Champions League came at home against Pakhtakor on matchday five, while seven of the ten goals they have conceded have also been on home soil.

The UAE side are approaching this tie in hot form, winning their last four matches, with the latest being a 5-3 victory over Hatta in their domestic league.

Al Nassr coach Luis Castro on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Meanwhile, Al-Nassr will resume their quest for their first-ever AFC Champions League title, having only finished as runners-up once, in 1995.

After progressing through the playoff round with a 4-2 win over Shabab Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr recorded four wins and two draws to finish top of Group E unbeaten, before comfortably overcoming fellow Saudi Pro League side Al Feiha in the round of 16.

Luis Castro's side, who are yet to lose in the AFC Champions League this season, have won three and drawn one match on the road and will be hoping to maintain their run.

However, a 4-4 draw against Al-Hazem on Thursday will leave a bitter taste heading into this game, as the Global Ones fell further behind in the Saudi Pro League title race.

Al-Ain AFC Champions League form:

Al-Ain form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Al-Nassr AFC Champions League form:

Al-Nassr form (all competitions):

Team News

Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Al-Ain's leading scorer in this competition, Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba, missed their last league game after coming off injured in the previous game.

Josna Epifani Loulendo is expected to lead the line once again in his absence while Soufiane Rahimi, who was rested for the last match, is expected to return to the starting lineup on Monday.

Al-Nassr are still without three of their first-team goalkeepers, with David Ospina and Raghed Al-Najjar both out due to injury, while Nawaf Al-Aqidi is still serving a ban handed down by the Saudi Football Federation, leaving Waleed Abdullah to continue in goal for this clash.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed Thursday's league game due to a ban, will return for this fixture, spearheading the attack.

The trio of Sadio Mane, Otavio and Talisca will play behind the Portuguese, offering support.

Al-Ain possible starting lineup:
Eisa; Traore, Al-Hashemi, Koumare, Erik; Park, Al Baloushi; Atzili, Romero, Rahimi; Loulendo

Al-Nassr possible starting lineup:
Abdullah; Boushal, Al-Amri, Laporte, Telles; Al-Khaibari, Brozovic; Talisca,Mane, Otavio; Ronaldo

SM words green background

We say: Al-Ain 1-1 Al-Nassr

Al-Nassr are a star-studded side consisting of players with a huge wealth of experience; they are also currently unbeaten in the AFC Champions League this season, making them one of the favorites. However, we think the hosts will hold their own here, which means the best the visitors should get is a draw ahead of the return leg.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal on February 17, 2024
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