Al Hilal Defeats Sepahan: 2023-24 ACL

Al Hilal Defeats Sepahan: 2023-24 ACL

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia booked its place in the AFC Champions League 2023-24 quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Iran's Sepahan at Kingdom Arena in the second leg of the Round of 16 on Thursday.

Just like it did in the first leg in Isfahan, Al Hilal came from a goal down to overcome Sepahan who once more found themselves finishing the game with ten men, the Saudis advancing with a 6-2 aggregate score.

Sepahan took the lead on the night after Ali Asghar Aarabi’s cross from the left was headed across the mouth of goal by Ramin Rezaeian, falling for Farshad Ahmadzadeh was left with the simplest of tasks to tap home from point-blank, reducing the aggregate deficit to one goal.

Sepahan’s defender Siavash Yazdani received a red card in the 71st minute. The center-back brought down Malcom with the Brazilian winger through on goal, and following a VAR check, the initial yellow card was upgraded to red.

It took just five minutes for Salem Al Dawsari to capitalize on his side’s numerical superiority; the winger picked up Ali Al Bulayhi’s pass on the edge of the area, controlling and turning before expertly placing it into the back of the net despite Payam Niazmand’s best efforts.

Al Hilal took the lead for the first time in the game eight minutes from time when a poor defensive clearance saw the ball fall to Ruben Neves 25 yards out, and the Portuguese midfielder wasted no time in controlling and firing a thunderous effort that nestled in the back of the net for 2-1.

The win was secured in added time as Aleksandar Mitrovic was served the ball on a silver plate following a cross from Saud Abdulhamid and the Serbian forward made no mistake from close range, hammering home for his seventh goal of the campaign, sealing the 3-1 victory.

The next step in Al Hilal’s march will be a quarter-finals tie against its fierce local rival Al Ittihad, while the other West quarter-final sees Al Nassr face UAE’s Al Ain.


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