Riyadh: The last two AFC Champions League runners-up, Al Hilal and Al Ain, started their 2018 campaign with a goalless draw in Group D on Tuesday.
Al Ain started on the front foot and had their most dangerous chance within nine minutes when Hussein El Shahat produced an intelligent pass for Marcus Berg but the Swede's shot was denied by goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf.
Seven minutes later, the hosts had their first chance through powerful shot from Yasser Al Shahrani that ended on the wrong side of the upright. New signing Ezequiel Cerutti broke free on the counter counterattack, but squandered his chance at the half-hour mark.
After a goalless first half, Al Hilal came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 79th minute when Mohammed Al Burayk rifled his free-kick but saw it ricochet off the post as the final whistle announced a goalless draw in Riyadh.
Al Hilal face Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal away on Matchday Two, while Al Ain play hosts to Qatar’s Al Rayyan.