Al Hilal clinch record-equalling Asian title

 November 25, 2019

SAITAMA: 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.

SAITAMA: Al-Hilal players celebrate their victory in the AFC Champions League final on Sunday.—AFP
SAITAMA: Al-Hilal players celebrate their victory in the AFC Champions League final on Sunday.—AFP

It was Al Hilal’s first Asian Champions League title since the competition was launched in 2002 after victories in the Asian Club Championship in 1991 and 2000.

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, and they are the first club from Saudi Arabia to be crowned Asian champions since the second of Al Ittihad’s back-to-back successes in 2005.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg by virtue of a goal from Peru international Andre Carrillo, Al-Dawsari all but settled the result for Al Hilal when he took a pass from Sebastian Giovinco and right-footed a shot past Urawa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa in the 74th.

Gomis sealed the win in the third minute of stoppage time with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box.

Urawa, who also won the title in 2007 and 2017, were bidding to become the first three-time winner of the tournament.

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