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Mekkah: Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic felt that good preparation for his team's showdown against Al Ittihad was the key to their victory over the Saudi club in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

The United Arab Emirates side advanced to the semi-finals for the first time in nine years after they won comprehensively at King Abdulaziz Sport City on Tuesday.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg, Al Ain fell behind on the night when Ismail Ahmed turned a cross by Marquinho into his own net after 35 minutes.

But they quickly reasserted their control as Asamoah Gyan finished expertly for his tournament-leading 12th goal and Omar Abdulrahman and substitute Ibrahim DIaky added goals in the second half to make it 3-1 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.

"We came to Saudi Arabia ready for the match and we wanted to train in Jeddah in order to save time," said Dalic (pictured right).

"We are satisfied with the performance and the result and we were relaxed after we scored the equaliser.

"We achieved what we wanted early in the match as this made things easier for the players and they were released from pressure and they showed a good performance. We are happy that we managed to repeat our victory today and to advance to the semi-finals."

Having seen his side dispose of Al Ittihad, Dalic is now looking forward a semi-final showdown with another Saudi club, Al HIlal.

"We will turn our attention to Al Hilal now and I know them well as I have previously coached them and I know their weaknesses and strengths," said the Croatian.

"The best team will reach the final and I hope that we can make it."

Photo: WSG

 

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