Al-Ain reaches Asian Champions League final by beating Al-Hilal 5-4 on aggregate

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Al-Ain of the United Arab Emirates reached the final of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday after beating Al-Hilal 5-4 on aggregate in the semifinals to end Saudi Arabia’s chances of winning the continental prize.

Four-time champion Al-Hilal, missing injured forwards Neymar and Aleksandar Mitrovic, won 2-1 in Riyadh but was unable to overturn the 4-2 deficit from last week's first leg.

Al-Hilal is the fourth Saudi Pro League club to be eliminated since the knockout stages began in February.

The second leg started well for Al-Hilal and its capacity crowd at the Kingdom Arena was on its feet after just four minutes.

Ruben Neves, who arrived last summer from English Premier League team Wolverhampton, converted a penalty after Kouame Kouadio brought down Brazilian forward Michael Delgado.

The home fans were silenced just seven minutes later when Al-Ain, the 2003 champion and two-time runner-up, restored its two-goal cushion. Yahia Nader passed to Erik Jorgens on the edge of the area and the Brazilian found the bottom corner with a low shot.

Six minutes after the restart, Salem Al-Dawsari got Al-Hilal back in the tie. The Asian player of the year collected the ball after a weak defensive header and drilled a low shot through a crowd of players into the back of the net.

The home players raced back to their positions eyeing the goal that would level the tie. Delgado, alone in the penalty area, then saw his shot hit the legs of goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.

In May, Al-Ain will face the winner of the semifinal in the eastern zone. Ulsan HD of South Korea visits Yokohama F.Marinos on Wednesday with a 1-0 lead from the first leg.


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