Al-Hilal defeat Urawa Red Diamonds 1-0 in Riyadh AFC Champions League final encounter

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A second-half goal from Andre Carrillo gave Al Hilal a 1-0 win over Urawa Reds in the first leg of the Asian Champions League final in Riyadh on Saturday. (AN Photo/Basheer Alzain Saleh)
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Al-Hilal’s Salem Al-Dawsari, left, plays the ball past Urawa Reds’ Takuya Aoki during Saturday’s match at King Fahd stadium in Riyadh. (AP)
Updated 10 November 2019

Al-Hilal defeat Urawa Red Diamonds 1-0 in Riyadh AFC Champions League final encounter

  • Andre Carrillo scored the winning goal with a header in the second half
  • It was the first win for the Saudi club against Urawa in AFC Champions League history

RIYADH: Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the Asian Champions League final on Saturday in Riyadh with Andre Carrillo scoring the winning goal with a header in the second half.

The result represents the first win for the Saudi club against Urawa in AFC Champions League history, fifa.com reported.

Al-Hilal take a one-goal lead into the return fixture at Saitama Stadium in Japan on Nov. 24, but also have the advantage of not conceding at home.

The hosts made their intentions clear from the start on Saturday, controlling possession and building up pressure on their opponents, while Urawa kept a compact shape and looked to hit on the counter, the-afc.com reported.

The first 20 minutes of the AFC Champions League match saw each side get a major opportunity, but heroic defending at both ends meant the goalkeepers would remain untested yet.

Daisuke Suzuki threw his body to deflect Sebastian Giovinco’s shot 14 minutes into the game while Ali Al Bulayhi blocked Takahiro Sekine’s effort from inside the Al Hilal box three minutes later.

The capacity crowd at King Saud University Stadium prepared to celebrate in the 29th minute after Salem Al-Dawsari’s cross from the right reached Giovinco with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The Italian applied his finish past Haruki Fukushima, but Takuya Aoki emerged from nowhere to clear the ball off the goal-line.

And if Al-Hilal thought it impossible to get closer to scoring than they did without actually finding the back of the net, that moment came just two minutes later.

Fukushima just about managed to get his fingertips to Carrillo’s header from the corner, and the ball found its way to Al-Bulayhi at the far post inches from the goal line and with no one marking him, but the defender fluffed his lines, sending the ball wide.

Razvan Lucescu’s men picked up where they left off after the restart, piling the pressure on Urawa.

The Japanese defense finally yielded at the hour mark as a fatal mistake from goalkeeper Fukushima allowed Carrillo to get on the end of a Mohammed Al-Burayk cross. The Peruvian made no mistake with the goal at his mercy, heading home the opener.

With the lead obtained, Al-Hilal opted to retain possession and minimize risks, as their chances were limited to two efforts from Giovinco over the next half an hour.

The former Juventus forward curled an effort from outside the box in the 74th minute that was calmly caught by Fukushima, and eight minutes later he saw his second attempt narrowly miss the target.

Urawa's coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki had not given up hope despite the defeat, though, as he said in the press conference after the game.

Otsuku said the loss by only one goal was a good result for his team, especially with the many lost chances to score by Al-Hilal, confirming his team’s capability to win in Saitama.

“We did not intensify our defensive efforts as we did not receive but one goal. Regardless of this result, we finished this game in a way that allows us to fight back in the second leg,” he said.

Razvan Lucescu, Al-Hilal’s coach, said that he could not blame his players for the wasted chances to score, as they exhibited an amazing performance in the game.

“We need to keep our balance, the first part was positive and as a result we will play with much confidence in Saitama, knowing that the result is not decided yet. We fought for every ball.

“Our defense was awesome and we were mentally present. We sought to create gaps in our rivals ranks to exploit the spaces available, we played a big game in an uneasy match,” he said.

Urawa Reds striker Shinzo Koroki told reporters after the match that it was difficult for him to score: “So, I told my teammates that I would not be able to score and the game would end with 1-0, but I will play again at our stadium to score. Carrillo was the best player and the only one to score a goal.”

He added: “They will keep playing to win in the second leg rather than be satisfied with the current result.” 

He concluded by agreeing with Razvan that the final result is not decided yet.


Brighton boost hopes of Premier League survival

Updated 04 July 2020

Brighton boost hopes of Premier League survival

  • Saturday’s result leaves Norwich in grave danger of relegation

LONDON: Norwich manager Daniel Farke conceded his side are heading for relegation after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton to a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Trossard netted in the first half to move Brighton nine points clear of the relegation zone before the bulk of the weekend’s matches.

Brighton’s second win in four games since the restart puts them in position beat the drop, but the picture is much bleaker for Norwich.

With five matches left, Norwich are seven points from safety after losing all five games following the coronavirus hiatus.

Farke knows Norwich’s chances of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship are almost over, especially with games against Chelsea and Manchester City still to come.

“It was more or less our last chance to get back in the mix and we are disappointed,” he said.

“The story of our game was the story of our season, we didn’t find the cutting edge and we then make a big mistake.

“After a few losses, we don’t have the right to make any fighting messages or to make any unrealistic claims.

“We are not naive, let’s show our pride. It is important we learn for the future. I will pick them up.”

Farke dropped Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell, even though the pair had scored 68 percent of his team’s goals this season.

The move was criticized by some Norwich fans, but Finland forward Pukki, who had netted 11 times this term, was without a goal in 10 games dating back to January.

Norwich started brightly with their changed lineup and Onel Hernandez fired over from long-range after an incisive break.

But Brighton wrestled back control and had a penalty appeal turned down by VAR when Trossard tumbled under pressure.

Brighton made the most of their dominant spell as Trossard struck in the 25th minute.

Aaron Mooy whipped over a low cross from the right and Trossard made a perfectly timed run to the near post, where the Belgian midfielder slotted past Tim Krul for his fourth goal of the season.

Norwich had lost all 19 Premier League games this season in which they have conceded first.

The y were the only team in the top-flight yet to pick up a point from a losing position and their frustration mounted as Hernandez miscued wide.

Brighton almost put the came beyond their reach when Mooy’s free-kick hit team-mate Dan Burn and deflected narrowly wide.

Norwich’s Josip Drmic shot straight at Mat Ryan from a good position before Farke sent on Pukki and Cantwell with 23 minutes left.

There was no lack of effort from Norwich, but their luck was out in stoppage-time when Adam Idah glanced a header against the inside of the far post and Brighton cleared the danger.