The Al Ain skipper’s mesmerising form left everyone spellbound at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Monday.
Needing to win by a two-goal margin, The Boss pumped in half a dozen goals to hand Iran’s Esteghlal a humiliating 6-1 defeat as they stormed into the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League with a 6-2 aggregate triumph.
“I would like to thank the fans for their support and I’m happy that we managed to return their favour tonight,” said an elated Abdul Rahman.
“We messed up the first time round in Tehran in the defence but tonight we managed to win by six goals. Honestly speaking, though I expected to win, I didn’t think we would win by such a huge margin.”
Al Ain’s man from the land of Samba, Caio showed his renowned Brazilian touches to see the hosts into half-time with those crucial two goals. With the main target accomplished, Abdul Rahman added more misery on the visitors by scoring from a tight angle to make it 3-0.
Later, outgoing South Korean midfielder Lee Myung-Joo, playing his last match for Al Ain, decided to sign off on a high with a peach of a strike. Abdul Rahman then completed his brace with a long range effort and Saudi Arabian striker Nasser Al Shamrani hammered the final nail in the Esteghlal coffin. The consolation goal for Esteghlal came from a set piece by Kaveh Rezaei.
Al Shamrani was on a six-month loan and with the exit of Myung-Joo and Colombian winger Danilo Asprilla (rumoured for a possible move to China), Al Ain will have to look for fresh reinforcements in the transfer window this summer.
“I would like to thank Nasser, Lee and Asprilla for the support. Without them we wouldn’t have been in this position at the end of season. We have a break now and the technical committee and board will be evaluating everything. We have confidence in the players [and] the management,” said Abdul Rahman, adding that he is upbeat about the team’s chances for the remaining part of the tournament.
Al Ain reached the final of last season’s competition but were defeated by South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors.
“All the teams remaining are tough and hopefully we can keep bettering our performance after this show. We will be definitely trying our level best to go all the way. I’m confident of Al Ain doing well in the next season,” asserted the star playmaker.
Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic declared the 6-1 victory as the best performance of the campaign.
Mamic said: “It was the fastest and best match that Al Ain played in the entire season. The players showed great concentration from the start to the final whistle. Things went as per plans and I was confident in the ability of my team to achieve the result. The players now deserve a good break and then we will work ahead for the next phase and do what is best to get strong results.”
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