Al Hilal reaches Asian Champions League final
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Al Hilal advanced to the AFC Asian Champions League final on Tuesday despite a 2-1 away defeat by 10-man Al Ain in their semifinal second leg.
The Saudi Arabian side, 3-0 up from the first leg, came through 4-2 on aggregate at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
Lee Mjung-joo opened the scoring for Al Ain with a header after 10 minutes, while Nasser Al Shamrani equalized for the visitors in the 65th.
Despite Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan being given a straight red card four minutes later for a lunging tackle, Jires Kembo Ekoko struck again for the United Arab Emirates side in the 77th.
“Al AIn played well and they deserved also to reach the final, but happily we proved ourselves,” Hilal coach Laurentin Reghecamph said. “We presented ourselves the way we wanted and we made the final.”
Hilal, Asian champions in 1991 and 2000, will face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between FC Seoul and Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Congratulations to my players,” Al Ain coach Zlatko Dalic said. “They tried everything to reach the final but 3-0 against Al Hilal is not easy. In the first half we scored an early goal, but to beat Hilal you need to use any chance you get. Hopefully next year we can go to the final.”