RIYADH (AFP) – A double by the tournament’s leading scorer Nassir al Shamrani saw Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal take a huge step towards the Asian Champions League final with a 3-0 win over Al Ain in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday.
The UAE club – the inaugural winners of the trophy – paid a heavy price in a manic 10-minute spell in the second half, when they not only went down to 10 men, but also conceded three goals.
Al Shamrani, who had already scored seven goals in the competition, scored twice in the space of three minutes – in the 61st and 64th minutes – before Hilal’s Brazilian import, Thiago Neves, completed the scoreline in the 70th minute.
Perhaps rattled by letting in two goals to Al Shamrani, Ain Ain’s UAE national goalkeeper Khalid Eisa brought down Nawaf al Abed, and was sent off. It could have been 4-0 within that 10-minute span, but Neves’ penalty that came along with Eisa’s eviction in the 65th minute was saved by replacement ‘keeper Dawoud Sulaiman.