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Sepahan's Karimi rues AFC Champions League exit after draw with Al Ain


Doha: Midfielder Mohammed Karimi expressed his disappointment after Sepahan FC’s elimination from the 2020 AFC Champions League following a goalless draw with UAE’s Al Ain in their penultimate Group D tie on Monday.

The result meant Sepahan joined Al Ain as the two sides exiting the tournament from Group D as Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr and Qatar’s Al Sadd secured their places in the Round of 16.

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“We tried the best we could and we were the better side in the second half,” said Karimi, who was named Man of the Match. “Unfortunately it was a goalless draw and it wasn’t the result that we wanted.

“The competition was very difficult as we were drawn with two strong teams. Al Nassr were in the quarter-finals of the competition last year while Al Sadd reached the final four,” said the 24-year-old player.

Group D - MD5: Sepahan FC 0-0 Al Ain FC

Al Ain FC skipper Ismail Ahmed said his team played well despite having already been eliminated after Matchday Four.

“We tried today to play a good match despite having lost hope (of advancing),” said the veteran defender. “Our target was to regain the trust of our fans who were disappointed with our recent performances.

“We wanted to fix the mistakes that we made in the previous match,” added the 37-year-old player. “We hope that we can learn from the matches that we played.”

Rayan Yaslam said lack of match fitness affected Al Ain in the competition although their performance against Sepahan can be something they can build on for the future.

“It is true that we didn’t have any hope before the start of the match but at the end of the day, we are playing for one of the biggest clubs in the Continent,” said the 25-year-old midfielder. “We gave our best in the matches that we played, especially as we came here without playing any official match for the past six months,” he said.

Al Ain will end their campaign against Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr, with Sepahan to play Al Sadd on Thursday.

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