Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal set up AFC Champions League semi with Al Sadd

18 Sep 2019 / 09:06 H.

DOHA: Al Hilal bounced back from behind to see off fellow Saudi rivals Al Ittihad 3-1 and storm into the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

After a goalless first leg, both teams had everything to play for but Al Hilal made the most of their home advantage at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh to prevail in an entertaining encounter.

Al Hilal, the 1991 and 2000 champions, suffered an early setback, somewhat unluckily, when Al Ittihad’s Ziyad al-Sahafi scuffed his shot following a corner and a failed clearance, but the ball still had enough on it to trickle in off the post, stunning the large home crowd.

Immediately after the half-hour mark, Al Hilal had a golden chance to draw level when Peruvian Andre Carrillo saw his header kept out by goalkeeper Fawaz al-Qarni.

Al-Qarni, however, couldn’t prevent Al Hilal from getting the equaliser a minute before half-time after Salem al-Dawsari did all the hard work on the left flank and crossed to Carrillo.

Al-Qarni’s effort to stop Carrillo’s shot only succeeded in deflecting the ball into the net.

Having drawn level, Al Hilal were a different side in the second half as they took the lead with al-Dawsari and Carrillo working their magic again.

Al-Dawsari sent a long diagonal pass for Carrillo, who took his time and returned the ball to his onrushing partner who scored with a header in the 48th minute.

The job was done in the 78th minute when Sebastian Giovinco grabbed a pass from Mohamed Kanno to fire beyond al-Qarni after getting past the defence.

Al Hilal will meet Qatar’s Al Sadd in the semi-finals next month. — AFP

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