Grand welcome for champions Al Hilal SFC
Riyadh: Al Hilal SFC returned home to a heroes' welcome after emerging the 2019 AFC Champions League winners on Sunday.
Thousands of fans greeted the squad upon their return to Riyadh after a 2-0 win in the second leg of the final at the Saitama Stadium on Sunday gave the Saudi Pro League side a 3-0 aggregate win over two-time AFC Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds.
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André Carrillo's first leg strike, coupled with Salem Al Dawsari and Bafétimbi Gomis' efforts on Sunday secured Al Hilal the title, after having settled for runners-up finishes in 2014 and 2017.
Al Hilal, beaten by Urawa in the 2017 final, also became the AFC Champions League's first West Asian winners since Qatar's Al Sadd in 2011, ending a run of victories by clubs from Japan, Korea Republic, China PR and Australia.
While it was Al Hilal's first title since the AFC Champions League was rebranded in 2002, Al Hilal were twice Asian Club Championship winners in 1991 and 2000.
The players wore team jerseys with No 7 at the back at the celebrations as Sunday's triumph was Al Hilal's seventh Continental title, having also won the Asian Cup Winners Cup in 1997 and 2002, and the Asian Super Cup in 1997 and 2000.
There was more for the Riyadh-based club to celebrate on Sunday as for Bafetimbi Gomis was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and won the Top Scorer Award.
The former France international scored 11 goals in Al Hilal's successful campaign, with five of them coming in the knockout stage.
Al Hilal's adventure continues as they will compete in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 next month, with the newly-minted 2019 AFC Champions League winners to face Tunisia's Espérance Sportive de Tunis in a second round clash on December 14.
Photos: Al Hilal SFC
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