RIYADH — Al Hilal SFC's valiant effort to overcome a first-leg deficit was not enough as they were defeated by Al Ain in the AFC Champions League 2023/24 semi-final, with an aggregate score of 5-4.

Despite winning the second leg 2-1 at the Kingdom Arena, the Saudi team could not erase the three-goal advantage established by Al Ain in the first leg, where they lost 4-2.

The match began dramatically with Al Hilal earning a penalty in the opening minute, swiftly converted by Ruben Neves. This early goal reinvigorated hopes of a comeback, but Al Ain quickly responded with a goal from Erik, maintaining their aggregate lead. The remainder of the game saw Al Hilal pushing forward, with Salem Al Dawsari scoring early in the second half to keep their hopes alive.

Despite multiple chances and a strong offensive push, Al Hilal was unable to secure the necessary additional goals to turn the tie around.

The game was marked by critical interventions from Al Ain’s goalkeeper, Khaled Eisa, who made several key saves to deny Al Hilal, including a notable stop against Brazilian winger Michael late in the game.

Al Hilal's exit from the tournament was a significant disappointment, especially given their strong performances leading up to the semi-finals. The team will now turn their focus to domestic competitions and preparing for next season's international challenges.

© Copyright 2022 The Saudi Gazette. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).