Former winner Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates missed out on a place in the group phase of the Asian Champions League on Saturday with a crushing 4-0 playoff loss against Iran’s Foolad.

A brace from Brazilian forward Chimba as well as strikes by Saleh Hardani and Ayanda Patosi saw the Iranians complete the line-up in group D. There they will join Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, Al Sadd from Qatar and Jordanian club Al Wehdat, with games due to kick off on Tuesday in Riyadh.

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Al Ain, who won the inaugural tournament in 2003 and last reached the final in 2016, will miss out on playing in the group phase of the competition for the first time since 2012.

Matches in the group stages of the Asian Champions League for clubs in the western half of the continent begin on Tuesday, with four cities hosting five groups on a centralised…

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