Lucescu praises Al Hilal creativity despite goalless draw
Jeddah: Al Hilal coach Razvan Lucescu praised his side’s ability to create chances in their 0-0 away draw against rivals Al Ittihad in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.
The Riyadh-based side failed to score for the second game running in the competition, having lost the Round of 16 second leg 1-0 to Al Ahli earlier this month. They had scored in six consecutive matches prior to that.
Wingers Andre Carrillo and Salem Al Dawsari provided creativity down the two flanks and attacking pair Sebastian Giovinco and Bafetimbi Gomis combined well to create chances through the centre, but the Al Hilal players wasted chance after chance to a combination of profligacy and impressive goalkeeping by Al Ittihad’s Fawaz Al Qarni.
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“We were the better team here; we reached Al Ittihad goal on multiple occasions and in a variety of ways,” said Lucescu.
“We penetrated down the middle and out wide as well, but unfortunately we could not score and had to settle for a draw. That is the way football works sometimes."
Mohammed Al Buraik had started five of Al Hilal’s games in the 2019 AFC Champions League at right-back, with Yassir Al Shahrani on the opposite flank, but on Monday Lucescu opted for Al Shahrani on the right and moved the more defensively-minded Ali Al Bulayhi to take his spot on the left.
“Sometimes you need to have a certain balance in your XI, every match needs players with specific characteristics and today I thought Al Bulayhi was the right man for that position.
“Overall, we did well although the humidity had an impact on us. We were in control for most of the match and Al Ittihad only had their chances due to our mistakes.”
FULL-TIME 🏁— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) August 27, 2019
🇸🇦 Ittihad 0-0 Al Hilal 🇸🇦
The Saudi Classico ends it's 1st leg with a scoreless draw in front of 54,390 fans ⛔ we can't wait for the 17th of September 🔥#ITTvHIL #ACL2019 pic.twitter.com/dXzSfU1fsJ
The two sides lock horns again at King Saud University Stadium in three weeks’ time where Lucescu’s men will need a win to progress to the semi-finals for the fourth time in six years.
The winners will face either Saudi rivals Al Nassr or Qatar's Al Sadd in the semi-finals. Al Nassr won the first leg of their quarter-final 2-1 on Monday.
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