From a pragmatic perspective, Al Ain will take a 2-1 away loss. But it is tinged with frustration after they failed to keep a hold on Leonardo.
There can be similar feelings for Jeonbuk, who should have landed more blows in a dominant opening 30 minutes.
It is still all to play for when Al Ain and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors clash again next week after an engrossing first leg of the 2016 AFC Champions League final.
AMOORY CAN’T DO IT ALL
Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdulrahman is a man of many talents. But the tiny playmaker cannot be expected to work wonders from aimless long balls.
This tactic was repeated in a frustrating first half, in which the striker-less 4-3-3 formation did not function. Target man Douglas must be restored to the starting line-up.
WATCH OUT FOR LEE
Centre midfielder did his prospects of being the latest South Korean successfully exported to Europe no harm in this match.
The 24-year-old was key to Jeonbuk’s lively start, showing excellent feet and killer acceleration. Although slight in building, his dynamism means a switch to the Bundesliga, for example, should be a successful one.
KAF’S NIGHT TO FORGET
Jeonju World Cup Stadium had been the subject of ire before this game, with its dilapidated exterior and worse pitch.
But it was Omani referee Ahmed al Kaf who was this game’s real villain. He was far too lenient in awarding bookings, while the mess he and his assistant made in not awarding Kim Bo-kyung’s first-half penalty was appalling.
GOOK IS STILL A GOOD ONE
Veteran striker Lee Dong-gook thrust himself straight into his coach’s plans for next week with a timeless cameo off the bench.
At 37-years old, his awareness of his team-mates saw a killer pass sprayed out to Leonardo for the opener. He could do even more from the start.
AL AIN HAVE REASON TO HOPE
Al Ain travelled to South Korea determined to keep the tie alive and Danilo Asprilla’s away goal ensured this mission was achieved.
The Boss also learned they can cope with Jeonbuk’s intensity, while landing strikes of their own. There is now no better time to end their struggles at home in this year’s edition.
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