Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal FC players and staff celebrate after wining against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in Saitama, Japan.
Salem Al-Dawsari and Bafetimbi Gomis were the heroes as Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal beat Urawa Red Diamonds 2-0 on Sunday and 3-0 on aggregate to claim a record-equalling third Asian club title in the AFC Champions League.
Al-Dawsari scored with 16 minutes left and top-scorer Gomis grabbed his 11th of the competition in injury time as the Saudi giants ended a 19-year wait for their third continental trophy, joining South Korea’s Pohang Steelers as the only three-time Asian champions.
Al Hilal, beaten by Japan’s Urawa in the 2017 final, also became the competition’s first West Asian winners since Qatar’s Al Sadd in 2011, torpedoing a run of victories by clubs from Japan, South Korea, China and Australia.
Al Hilal had the better of the opening half as they looked to build on their 1-0 win in the first leg, when Andre Carrillo scored the only goal.
Both goalkeepers were forced into action early on, but it was Urawa’s Takahiro Sekine who had the best chance of the half when his point-blank volley was scrambled away by Hilal custodian Abdullah Al-Mayoof.
Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal have opted not to renew the contract of influential midfielder Omar Abdulrahman. The UAE international joined Al Hilal in a blaze of publicity from Al Ain last August, but was subsequently sidelined for most of the season after he damaged an anterior cruciate ligament just
Kuala Lumpur: Qatar’s Al Sadd are set to face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the AFC Champions League semi-final next week, having overcome another Saudi opponent - Al Nassr – in the previous
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