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AFC Champions League | Final | 2nd Leg
May 25, 2024 at 5pm UK
Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium
Yokohama F Marinos

Al-Ain
5 - 1
Yokohama

Rahimi (8', 67'), Romero (33' pen.), Fo-Doh Laba (90+1', 90+5')
Rahimi (68'), Romero (90+9')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Yan (40')
Kewell (46')
Popp (45+10')

Preview: Al-Ain vs. Yokohama F Marinos - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's AFC Champions League clash between Al-Ain and Yokohama F Marinos, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Al-Ain seek a turnaround in the AFC Champions League final second leg against Yokohama F Marinos at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.

Hernan Crespo's men led 1-0 for so long in the reverse fixture only for two goals in the concluding 20 minutes to turn the game on its head, leaving the Japanese outfit on the brink of the continental title in their first final.


Match preview

Al Ain coach Hernan Crespo on March 12, 2024© Reuters

For an extended period at Nissan Stadium, Al Zaeem seemed destined to claim a win to edge them close to a second continental title and a first since 2003.

Mohammed Al-Baloushi opened the scoring after 12 minutes in the May 11 fixture, and Crespo's side nearly added to their advantage in the game's opening half despite having less possession.

However, they could not end the Japan outfit's winning sequence on home turf, as Harry Kewell's men converted their clear-cut opportunities to turn the game around, leaving the onus on Al-Ain to mount a fightback.

On the one hand, the home support have reason to be optimistic, with the Abu Dhabi club winning all but one of their fixtures as hosts in this year's competition — a 3-1 loss to Pakhtakor in late November — and that was in the fifth matchday when qualification from the Group A was assured.

Despite the circumstances, losing a fortnight back in Japan was unsurprising for a club that have not won on the road since their final group-stage fixture — drawing at Nasaf (0-0), losing 4-3 at Al Nassr (3-2 after 90 minutes, the Emirati advanced on penalties), losing 2-1 at Al Hilal in the semi-finals and by similar score two weeks back — meaning they probably foresaw a scenario of needing a result in front of their supporters to beat Yokohama.

Be that as it may, results have been underwhelming for Crespo's men, who have won three games in 12 in all competitions, losing five of seven, and it remains to be seen if they find some form this weekend.

Yokohama F Marinos coach Harry Kewell before the match on April 17, 2024© Reuters

Kewell's men hope to remain undaunted by the prospect of securing a positive result in Abu Dhabi, despite their recent results pointing to uncertainty on Saturday.

However, unlike Al-Ain, Marinos have found ways to avoid losing, underlined by two defeats in their last seven in all competitions, with the club's pair of victories coming on the continent.

Road results in the competition have been mixed, with the Japanese club claiming three wins, two losses and one draw on their travels, demonstrating an absence of any real patterns regarding results heading into Saturday's game in Abu Dhabi.

Regardless, Kewell's men can be full of confidence in their goalscoring exploits on the road, underlined by the team finding the net in five of their last five away games on the continent, only firing a blank in the semi-final defeat by Ulsan (1-0).

Their Australian manager called on the team to be fearless and enjoy the occasion two weeks back, and they seek to heed their coach's words again as Marinos move closer to a maiden continental success.

Al-Ain AFC Champions League form:


Al-Ain AFC form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Yokohama F Marinos AFC Champions League form:

Yokohama F Marinos form (all competitions):



Team News

Yokohama F Marinos' Anderson Lopes celebrates scoring their first goal on July 23, 2023© Reuters

Soufiane Rahimi (11) is the competition's leading goalscorer, and the Moroccan finding the net in the round of 16, both games in the quarter-finals and three in the semi-final first-leg underlines his decisiveness for the home side.

Kodjo Fo Doh Laba (six) has scored five fewer than Rahimi, but the Togolese striker has been uninvolved in the competition since scoring his sixth in the last-16 second leg against Nasaf.

Having been rested in Monday's 2-0 win at Al-Wahda, Kaku, who has scored three times and set up four in continental football, should return to the lineup.

Takumi Kamijima could return to the lineup after serving his suspension for a sending-off in the semi-final second leg against Ulsan. The centre-back could replace Eduardo, who has not played since his 37th-minute withdrawal in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.

While Anderson Lopes (six) has scored most of the goals, Yan Matheus and Elber (both two) have outscored the Brazilian on the road, and they hope to make a telling impact this weekend. Matheus's assist for Asahi Uenaka two weeks back was his eighth goal involvement in the competition, taking him above Lopes and Elber (both seven).


Al-Ain possible starting lineup:
Eisa; Traore, Hashemi, Kouadio, Al Ahbabi; Al Baloushi, Park, Nader; Kaku, Rahimi, Palacios

Yokohama F Marinos possible starting lineup:
Popp; Subara, Kamijima, Hatanaka, Nagato; Uenaka, Kida, Nam; Matheus, Lopes, Elber


SM words green background

We say: Al-Ain 2-1 Yokohama F Marinos (Aggregate 3-3 | Yokohama F Marinos to win on penalties)

Despite failing to win at home in the league since February, Al-Ain are a different beast on the continent, underlined by five wins in six. However, Yokohama are expected to score as they are wont to, and this one could go the distance, with the Japanese side possibly claiming their first final on penalties.


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


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Game History

How you voted: Al-Ain vs Yokohama

Al-Ain
78.6%
Yokohama F Marinos
21.4%
14
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Group A

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