Al Ain created history by becoming the first Arabian Gulf League side to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final, after their victory over the Copa Libertadores champions River Plate in a penalty shootout.
Khalid Eisa, the Al Ain goalkeeper, was their hero again, as he did against Team Wellington in the play-off, saving the fifth and decisive spot kick to send the tournament host to a dream final.
Zoran Mamic’s side will now play the winner of the second semi-final between Real Madrid and Japan’s Kashima Antlers at the Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Al Ain stunned River Plate with a third minute goal courtesy of their Swedish international Marcus Berg.
The visitors hit back twice in quick succession through Santos Borre to take the lead 2-1 in just 16 minutes in to the game. Al Ain’s Brazilian midfielder Caio cancelled River’s lead six minutes in to the second half.
The Argentine side had a chance to regain the lead when they were awarded a spot kick but Gonzalo Martinez’s effort ricocheted off the crossbar for the game to go in to extra time and the penalty shootout.