HONG KONG - Asian player of the year Omar Abdulrahman led Al Ain into the Asian Champions League quarter-finals as last year’s beaten finalists handed Esteghlal of Iran a 6-1 thrashing on Monday.
Abdulrahman scored twice and set up a third in the win that helped the club from the United Arab Emirates overcome a 1-0 defeat in the first leg to record a 6-2 aggregate victory.
Brazilian striker Caio scored twice in six first-half minutes to put Al Ain in command before Abdulrahman instigated Esteghlal’s ruthless destruction in the second half, scoring his side’s third in the 49th minute from a tight angle.
South Korean Lee Myung-joo made it 4-0 with a drive from distance in the 56th minute before Abdulrahman claimed the fifth and set up Nassir Al Shamrani to score Al Ain’s sixth with 15 minutes remaining.
Kaveh Rezaei, who had scored the only goal of the first leg in Iran, netted a consolation free kick late in the game.
Zoran Mamic’s team will be joined in the draw for the next phase of the competition - which will be conducted in Kuala Lumpur on June 6 - by Al Ahli Saudi, whose 3-0 win over Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates ensured Christian Gross’s side secured a 4-1 aggregate win.
Taisir Al Jassim and Hussain Al Mogahwi put Al Ahli Saudi in command and a pair of yellow cards for Makhete Diop gave the club from the United Arab Emirates a mountain to climb.
Saad Abdulameer’s 72nd-minute penalty sealed the win before Asamoah Gyan’s stopage-time consolation spot-kick for AlAhli UAE.
Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Ed Osmond