Riyadh: Al Sadd SC coach Xavi is adamant his side will fight until the final minute as they take on Al Hilal in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final, with a 4-1 reversal at Doha needing to be overturned.
The Qatari side started positively at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium three weeks ago, taking the lead inside 15 minutes through a Bafetimbi Gomis own goal, before capitulating to concede four times as Abdelkarim Hassan saw red.
The 2011 AFC Champions League winners travelled to Riyadh also deprived of their star striker Baghdad Bounedjah, who joins Hassan in suspension, but Xavi insists his side have more to them than the pair.
Preview - S-final 2nd Leg: Al Hilal SFC (KSA) vs Al Sadd SC (QAT)
Riyadh: Buoyed by their 4-1 away win in the reverse fixture, complacency might be Al Hilal’s biggest obstacle as they host Al Sadd in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.
Three weeks earlier, Al Hilal had come from a goal down to record a famous 4-1 win in Doha.
Bafetimbi Gomis had converted into his own net 15 minutes in, but made amends in perfect style, bagging a brace, while Ali Al Bulayhi and Mohammed Al Shalhoub netted too to put the Saudi side in a comfortable position ahead of Tuesday’s return leg.
Kuala Lumpur: Al Hilal and Urawa Red Diamonds will take commanding leads into the second legs of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finals this week with Al Sadd and Guangzhou Evergrande needing to reverse first-leg deficits in order to progress to the final.
As things stand, Al Hilal hold a three-goal lead over Al Sadd ahead of their clash in Riyadh on Tuesday and Urawa take a two-goal advantage to southern China a day later. With the final line-up to be confirmed this week, here’s the-AFC.com’s five things to look out for.
Kuala Lumpur: When Bafetimbi Gomis bagged a brace in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final against Al Sadd, not only did he make up for his earlier own goal en route to a 4-1 victory, he also moved joint top of the scoring charts.
Gomis and Leonardo – who has left Al Wahda to join Shabab Al Ahli since the Emirati side were eliminated – are tied with nine goals apiece, but with the Saudi team potentially having three more games to play, the Frenchman is the favourite to win the top scorer award come November 24.
But, while one more goal would see the Al Hilal target man take pole position, there remains a chasing pack who will have one eye on the accolade. Ahead of the semi-final second legs next week, the-AFC.com takes a closer look at the contenders.
ACL semi-finalists rise to the fore in international break
Kuala Lumpur: Matchdays Three and Four of the Asian Qualifiers took place over the last week with several of the stars from the four 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finalists turning out for their respective countries.
China PR's Guangzhou Evergrande, Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan, Qatari club Al Sadd and Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal will resume their quest to become Asia's kings next week when the AFC Champions League recommences with the second legs of the semi-finals.
Before then, the-AFC.com looks at how their international stars got on for their nations in the most recent rounds of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Kuala Lumpur: The first legs of the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League concluded this week with plenty of thrills and spills to savour.
Game-changers, sensational strikes and the 12th man as the 2019 semi-finals got under way in exciting style with rollercoaster matches in Qatar and Japan. Here's the post-match reaction from some of the key men involved.
ACL 2019 Allianz Goal of the Week: Mohammed Al Shalhoub (Al Hilal SFC)
Kuala Lumpur: The-AFC.com announced on Friday that Al Hilal's Mohammed Al Shalhoub is the winner of this week’s Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-final first legs.