- Al Hilal overcome Al Sadd 6-5 over two legs
- Urawa defeat Guangzhou 3-0 on aggregate
- Two winning sides set up continental final meeting
Asia’s qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™ is approaching the final hurdle, with Al Hilal and Urawa Red Diamonds navigating through the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League to set up a mouth-watering final meeting.
Al Hilal eliminated Al Sadd 6-5 on aggregate to book passage to the final for a third time, while Urawa progressed 3-0 on aggregate at the expense of Guangzhou Evergrande. Join FIFA.com as we take a closer look at the semi-final action from Asia.
Semi-final second leg results
- Al Hilal 2-4 Al Sadd (6-5 agg)
- Guangzhou Evergrande 0-1 Urawa Red Diamonds (0-3 agg)
Al Hilal 2-4 Al Sadd (6-5 agg)
Having pulled off a resounding 4-1 win in Al Sadd, Al Hilal entered the home game confident of running their three-goal advantage into an aggregate victory. Al Sadd, meanwhile, arrived in Riyadh hoping to spring a surprise and progress to the showpiece decider with a huge victory. Spurred on by their home supporters, Razvan Lucescu’s men took the lead inside 13 minutes, Salem Al Dawsari pouncing on to a clearance to fire home and extend their aggregate lead to four goals.
With Al Hilal looking destined to progress, however, Xavi’s visitors scored three times in a period of four minutes to reduce the deficit to just one goal. Akram Afif converted a spot-kick which he earned on 17 minutes before Hassan Al Haydos set up Nam Taehee for a second two minutes later. The provider then turned scorer by netting Al Sadd’s third to put the game on a knife’s edge. With so much at stake, though, Bafetimbi Gomis eased the hosts’ worries when he latched on to a Sebastian Giovinco pass to increase their lead to two goals, leaving Boualem Khoukhi’s injury-time striker no more than a consolation.
The other attraction
Guangzhou Evergrande 0-1 Urawa Red Diamonds (0-3 agg)
Both Guangzhou Evergrande and Urawa Red Diamonds had aims of winning a third AFC Champions League title going into the semi-finals, but it was Tsuyoshi Otsuki’s side who emerged with a 3-0 aggregate victory. The J-League giants won the first leg 2-0 at home, leaving the C-League titans with no option but to go for goal in the return leg.
Playing in front of their home support, Fabio Cannavaro’s men produced ten shots during the first half, with Anderson Talisca coming closest by hitting the crossbar. But their hopes of a comeback were dealt a severe blow when Shinzo Koroki headed home shortly after the restart to make the aggregate scoreline 3-0. Guangzhou threw everything forward in the remainder to salvage a lifeline but Urawa held firm to keep them at bay.
French striker Bafetimbi Gomis scored three times over two legs during the semi-finals to help Al Hilal advance to Asia’s continental final. Indeed, the 34-year-old proved unstoppable against Al Sadd, his three goals extending his scoring tally to ten as he moved top of the tournament’s scoring chart. Notably, he scored a brace and set up another in the first leg, before scoring his side’s second goal in the return match which sealed progression.
3 – The number of away matches Al Hilal have won so far during the continental campaign. The Riyadh giants have showed formidable form on the road, winning three, drawing two and losing just one.
What they said
“There is a saying which says you should be happy with what you have achieved and therefore, we must be happy for reaching the final. We should be comfortable now after the big pressure and stress that we had in the match. We should start thinking of the final and we must prepare well because we want to win the title.”
Al Hilal head coach Razvan Lucescu speaking to the-afc.com