Al Ain Captures Second AFC Champions League Title, Etching Name in Record Books

Al Ain Football Club etched their name in Asian football history after clinching their second AFC Champions League title. The UAE club overcame a first-leg defeat to Yokohama F. Marinos (1-2) with a dominant 5-1 victory in the return leg, securing a 6-3 aggregate win.

This triumph wasn't just about the trophy, though. Al Ain's journey to the summit was paved with record-breaking performances. They finished the tournament as the highest scorers, accumulating an impressive 33 goals throughout the competition. This feat surpassed Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal (30 goals) and Yokohama F. Marinos (24 goals).

Leading the goal-scoring charge for Al Ain was the prolific Sofiane Rahimi. The Moroccan forward's clinical finishing saw him net a staggering 13 goals, equaling the record for most goals scored in a single edition of the AFC Champions League. This achievement placed him alongside legendary names like Muriqui (Guangzhou 2013), Adriano (FC Seoul 2016), and Baghdad Bounedjah (Al-Sadd 2018).

Rahimi wasn't the only Al Ain player to shine on the continental stage. Laba Kodjo provided strong support with 8 goals, solidifying their dominance in the top scorers' charts. Their combined efforts of 21 goals were a significant factor in propelling Al Ain towards the coveted trophy.

Beyond the players, Head Coach Hernan Crespo also made history. The Argentine tactician became the first manager from his nation to lead a team to AFC Champions League glory. This victory not only added Argentina to the list of title-winning nationalities (now at 13) but also saw Crespo join the ranks of South American coaches who have conquered Asia's premier club competition. He follows in the footsteps of Brazilians Sergio Farias (Pohang Steelers) and Luiz Felipe Scolari (Guangzhou), and Uruguayan Jorge Fossati (Al Sadd).

Al Ain's triumph serves as a testament to their attacking prowess, strategic brilliance, and unwavering determination. They not only conquered Asia but also rewrote the record books in the process, solidifying their place among the elite clubs in Asian football.

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