Coach Hernan Crespo credited his Al-Ain players for ending the club's 21-year wait for a second Asian Champions League title as the Argentinian completed his own redemption journey with Saturday's victory over Yokohama F Marinos.

Al-Ain crushed the Japanese side 5-1 in Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in the United Arab Emirates, ending with a 6-3 aggregate success to claim the trophy for the first time since winning the inaugural Asian Champions League title in 2003.

Soufiane Rahimi and Kodjo Laba both scored twice in the one-sided win over a Marinos team reduced to 10 men at the end of the first half following goalkeeper William Popp's sending off.

"We are very proud because this doesn't just represent the club or the city, but all of the country," said Crespo, who was appointed Al-Ain coach in November. "We are very happy for that.

"It is really difficult to describe the emotions. We deserve the title. Every team we faced in the quarter-finals, the semi-final and even the final, we were the underdogs.

"At the beginning nobody believed in us, but I believed. These guys, these players did something special."

Al-Ain's road to the title saw them defeat big-spending Saudi Pro League duo Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, with the win over Al-Hilal, in particular, a validation of Crespo's credentials.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker had suffered a humiliating 7-0 loss to the Riyadh-based club in the semi-finals of last year's competition while in charge of Qatar's Al Duhail.

"We changed a little bit the strategy, it's not the same game when you play at home as away," he said of his tactical switches between the first and second legs.

"You have to understand the situation with the players, some players didn't play while 100% in shape, but they played with heart.

"I'm not a genius, but I tried to work with my staff. Football is dynamic and it's about the players, not me.

"The only thing I said to the players is that we must believe, that we have the talent to play football on the floor."

Crespo admitted a performance of the standard displayed by Al-Ain in the second leg win was unusual.

"It's not easy to make something like this, this performance, in this high level, in a final," he said.

"The players, they play with courage, they play with heart. It's not easy to play these kind of matches with this personality."

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Christopher Cushing)