The semi-final of the League Cup of the United Arab Emirates, between Al Ain and Al Nasr, was marked by a Moroccan-Moroccan confrontation, with Soufiane Rahimi and El Mehdi Moubarik playing for Al Ain, and Adel Taarabt on the side of Al Nasr. The first leg of the match ended in a 4-1 victory for Al Ain.
The defending champion, Al Ain, will try to surprise the visitors right from the start with moves led by Argentine Matías Palacios, Brazilian Jonatas Santos, and Moroccan Soufiane Rahimi. On the other side, Cape Verdean Ryan Mendes and Adel Taarabt came close to opening the scoring with long-range shots in the 6th and 27th minutes of the match, respectively.
In the second half, Taarabt will once again prove to be dangerous, but his shot will go wide (48th minute). A few minutes later, it will be Rahimi, the man of the match, who will pose a threat in Al Nasr’s half. He will do so with great success, first by winning a penalty, which will be successfully converted by Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko (1-0, 59th minute), then by providing an assist for Palacios (2-0, 69th minute), and finally by scoring a brace himself (77th and 90+4th minutes). On the other hand, Al Nasr’s only goal was scored by Taarabt in stoppage time, two minutes before Rahimi sealed the final score.
Off to a good start in their quest to defend their title, Al Ain has taken a strong step towards qualification ahead of the return leg scheduled for Sunday in Dubai. It will be a match where Taarabt’s teammates will have to stage a comeback if they want to secure a spot in the final and hope to finish the season with a title.
Below are the goals of the match in video format.