Saudi contenders lead challenge for semi-final slots in AFC Champions League west zone

August 28 – Asian Champions League focus was in Saudi Arabia yesterday as three Saudi clubs competed in the West Asian quarter finals of the competition. The fourth club battling for a semi-final spot was from Qatar.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr were making their first ever quarter final appearance and came from behind to seal a valuable 2-1 win over Qatar’s Al Sadd in the first leg at King Fahd International Stadium on Monday.

Al Nassr weren’t helped by an injury to star striker Abdelrazzaq Hamdallah keeping him out the match. On 14 minutes, and against the run of play, Ali Asad put the Qataris a goal up.

Al Nassr piled the pressure on their opponents as they chased the equaliser. A minute before half-time the Al Sadd defence failed to deal with Giuliano’s cross from the corner, allowing Abdulrahman Al Dossari to drill home. Giuliano turned from provider to scorer in the 72nd minute to give the Saudis the one goal advantage going into the second leg in two weeks time in Qatar.

Saudi derby ends all-square

In Jeddah the first ever all-Saudi AFC Champions League quarter-final ended goalless as Al Ittihad and Al Hilal played out a 0-0 draw at King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in front of 55,000 fans.

Al Ittihad have not beaten their arch rivals since 2016 and were hoping the home advantage would be a deciding factor. But they were up against an Al Hilal team looking for a third AFC Champions League semi-final appearance in the last five years.

While both sides had chances, in the end they looked content to settle for a draw.

Al Hilal host Al Ittihad at King Saud University Stadium in the second leg on September 17 with the winners set for a semi-final clash with either Al Nassr or Al Sadd.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1581923211labto1581923211ofdlr1581923211owedi1581923211sni@n1581923211osloh1581923211cin.l1581923211uap1581923211

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