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ACL Group A – Al Jazira 2 – 3 Al Hilal

21 April 2011 2 Comments

Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal rallied from a two-goal deficit to pull off an incredible 3-2 victory over hosts Al Jazira in Wednesday’s 2011 AFC Champions League Group A clash.

Al Jazira stunned the Saudi giants with two quick goals towards the end of the first-half but Al Hilal regained their composure and pulled off a fine win to move a step closer to a second-round place with nine points from four games, the same as Iranian side Sepahan.

The first 10 minutes of the match were played at a frenetic pace with the Saudi side building some attractive moves but they failed to match their approach work and hardly tested stand in keeper Khaled Eisa.

While Al Hilal impressed with their bulid-up, Al Jazira also had a few attempts and in the 24th minute an Ahmed Jumaa cross was thwarted just before Ali Mabkhout could reach it before Mabkhout tried a fine overhead volley which went wide.

The home fans were then delirious with joy as Al Jazira struck twice within a space of two minutes on the stroke of half-time.

The first came from a brilliant move initiated by defender Juma Abdullah, who ran down the left flank and then pulled the ball back for Jumaa and he crossed to Mabkhout. Jumaa then raced into the box to receive the ball back from Abdullah Qasem and tapped it across to Mabkhout who slammed the ball through Al Hilal goalkeeper Hasan Al Otaibi’s legs for the lead.

Al Jazira struck again from the restart when Qasem intercepted a backpass from Abdullah Al Zori to Mirel Radoi and went on to keep his cool to beat the advancing Al Otaibi.

Al Hilal then struck a purple patch and scored three goals in 20 minutes. It began in the 56th minute with Al Qahtani’s free-kick deflecting off a defender’s leg and flew into the top-left corner, giving no chance to Eisa, before the 2007 AFC Player of the Year did well to squeeze home between the goalkeeper and the post for the equaliser eight minutes later.

The winner came in the 74th minute after Eisa saved a Radoi free-kick and from the resultant corner kick, Osama Hawsawi jumped for the ball and substitute Mohammed Al Menhali felled the airborne Saudi player to give away a penalty. This time Eisa was beaten by Radoi and Al Hilal heaved a sigh of relief.