(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Al Ain entered the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League by walloping Qatar's Al Rayyan 4-1 at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Monday.
A brace from Marcus Berg and goals from Omar Abdulrahman and Hussein El Shahat in either halves of the match exhausted Al Rayyan's hopes to break into the knockout rounds.
It was another sensational night for Al Ain's Swiss star Berg, who added to his four goals so far in the Champions League with a double on the night. Playing aggressively, Al Ain opened the account in 11 minutes. Al Ain midfielder Caio, on the run from the left flank, had his volley saved by Al Rayyan keeper Oumar Barry. However, Al Ain's Hussein El Shahat was on the spot to tap the ball into the bottom right corner.
Despite being a goal down, Al Rayyan kept hunting. And striker Sebastian Soria along with midfielder Rodrigo Tabata came close to finding an equaliser. In the 16th minute, there were back-to-back attempts but Soria missed mark with his header and volley in the box.
Al Ain's in-form Marcus Berg and Caio responded with a beautiful one-two combination play. The 'Boss' kept up the pressure with forays from Omar Abdulrahman and El Shahat. And Al Ain took one-goal lead into the break.
Second half saw an impressive Al Ain turning the heat on the home side. In 53 minutes, Amer Abdulrahman's long cross into the box resulted in a free-kick following a foul committed by Al Rayyan's Gonzalo Viera. And Omar curled in his left-footed shot to the top left corner to make it 2-0.
Three minutes later, Al Ain took the lead to three goals. It was quick goal as Caio controlled Al Ain keeper Khalid Eisa's kick and passed onto Tsukasa Shiotani, who found Berg inside the box. And the Swedish star slotted the ball into the left corner.
Al Rayyan players grew desperate in search for goal. They came close through Rodrigo Tabata and Abdulrahman Al Harazi.
However, Al Ain players had more hunger. Caio was eager to enter the scoresheet and had back-to-back attempts but missed with his volleys. And in 78 minutes, Al Ain slammed the door shut as Berg converted. The goal again coming through a long ball saw Caio connect onto Ahmed Barman's cross. Caio then passed onto Berg, who converted from the right flank to make it 4-0.
The home team had some respite as Soria scored a consolidation goal. The striker buried the ball into bottom right corner. However, Al Ain kept calm and will return home with a remarkable result.
In a Group C match, Nasaf rallied from a goal down to defeat Al Wasl 2-1. Al Wasl took the lead through Fabio de Lima in the 33rd minute. Nasaf drew parity through Sharof Mukhiddinov's just before the halftime. Nasaf went ahead three minutes on resumption as Bobur Abdukhalikov netted the winner. -
Group D Team P W D L F A P
Esteghlal 6 3 3 0 9 5 12
Al Ain 6 2 4 0 10 6 10
Al Rayyan 6 1 3 2 7 11 6
Al Hilal 6 0 2 4 3 7 2