Asia AFC Champions League

Record-Breaking Al Hilal Seal ACL Semis Spot

Saudi Arabian powerhouses Al Hilal advanced to the semifinals of the 2023/24 AFC Champions League, securing a 2-0 victory over fellow Saudi giants Al Ittihad in the second leg of the quarterfinals at King Abdullah Sports City on Tuesday. This triumph not only propelled them to the next stage but also established a remarkable world record of 28 consecutive wins.

Having been runners-up in the previous edition, Al Hilal demonstrated their prowess by defeating their compatriots 2-0 in the first leg in Riyadh a week prior. Their next challenge awaits in the form of Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates, who had booked their semifinal spot after eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr on penalties.

Despite Al Ittihad showing early promise by taking the offensive stance, it was Al Hilal who ultimately seized the initiative. An injury setback for Al Ittihad’s midfielder Fabinho early in the game saw him replaced by Sultan Al-Farhan.

Undeterred, Al Ittihad persisted in their efforts, coming close to scoring through Romarinho’s attempts. However, it was Al Hilal who capitalized on their opportunities, with Yasser Al-Shahrani breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark with a confident finish.

Al Ittihad’s challenges intensified as they faced a setback with Abderrazak Hamdallah receiving a red card. Al Hilal sealed their victory in added time when Malcom capitalized on a precise pass from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The upcoming semi-final showdown against Al Ain marks a familiar encounter for Al Hilal, as they once again face off against head coach Hernan Crespo, a rematch from the previous year when Al Hilal triumphed over Crespo’s Al Duhail side.