Riyadh: A three-minute double-salvo late into the second half secured a 3-1 win for Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal over Al Duhail of Qatar at the King Saud University Stadium on Matchday Two of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group C on Tuesday. Both sides had started their campaigns with a win, Al Hilal overcoming Al Ain 1-0 and Al Duhail putting three past Esteghlal in their respective group openers.
Sebastian Giovinco and Eduardo were a constant nuisance to the Qatari defence throughout. The pair combined as early as the fifth minute with the Italian crossing for Eduardo whose effort went inches above the crossbar.
The partnership delivered Al Hilal’s first goal in the 25th minute after Bassam Al Rawi misplaced his pass and was duly punished.
Mohammed Kanno intercepted the ball and fed Giovinco who controlled and sent Eduardo one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The Al Hilal captain kept his composure and applied the finish from inside the box to open the scoring.
Shoya Nakajima drew Al Duhail level 15 minutes before the end of the first half. The Japanese international pounced on a poor headed clearance by Mohammed Jahfali to control and drill home the equaliser with his left. Al Hilal responded instantly, winning a corner kick straight after play was restarted. Giovinco delivered an in-swinging cross into the far post that was chested over the line by defender Ali Al Bulayhi.
Before Rui Faria’s men could regroup after going behind again, they were hit with the final blow in the 79th minute.
Bafetimbi Gomis won possession deep in Al Duhail's half and supplied Salem Al Dawsari out wide. The winger then squared to substitute Nasser Al Dawsari whose intelligent dummy drew Al Rawi away from Gomis.
The French striker still had some work to do, rounding the goalkeeper and firing into the roof of the net to secure Al Hilal’s victory and get his Continental account up and running.
Al Duhail will look to get back to winning ways when they welcome Al Ain on April 8 in Doha, while Al Hilal visit the Qatari capital on the same day as they look to extend their winning run at the expense of Esteghlal on Matchday Three.