Al Ain FC to face Al Nassr in Monday’s quarter-final of AFC Champions League

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AL AIN, 3rd March, 2024 (WAM) — Al Ain FC will look to make home-ground advantage count when they host Al Nassr in the first leg of their AFC Champions League 2023/24 quarter-final on Monday.

The inaugural AFC Champions League winners, Al Ain will be bidding to make the semi-finals for the first time since 2014 while Al Nassr will be aiming to do so since back-to-back appearances in the last-four stage in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Al Ain, who booked their return to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2017 with a 2-1 aggregate win over Nasaf’s FC Nasaf, know their hopes of extending their stay depends on obtaining a healthy advantage in the first leg.

The record favours them, with the UAE side having won their last three AFC Champions League matches against Saudi Arabian opponents, including a 1-0 victory against Al Nassr in the 2020 edition.

Al Ain have also been in impressive form on the continental front this season and have been historically difficult to beat in the AFC Champions League knockout stage.

Togolese striker Kodjo Laba has been at the forefront of their challenge and with a place in the semi-finals at stake, Al Ain can be expected to hit the ground running at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

Al Nassr, however, will be equally fired up as they bid to stay on track for their first AFC Champions League title.

Their Saudi Pro League 2023/24 hopes suffered a blow following a 4-4 draw with Al Hazm on Thursday, which left them nine points behind pacesetters Al Hilal SFC and they will be looking for relief against Al Ain.

Al Nassr are on their longest unbeaten run in the AFC Champions League (8 games – W6 D2), and have not lost in their last three matches against Emirati teams in the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League (W2 D1).

They have been scoring for fun as well on the continental stage, with Anderson Talisca on six goals and Cristiano Ronaldo one behind.