Al Hilal, club from Saudi Arabia defending champions has qualified to round of 16 after againist Istiklol, club from Tajikistan with a score 3-0 in the AFC Champions League 2022 Group stage, Group A at Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh.
Al Hilal came into the tie knowing a win would seal their progress into the next round, while Istiklol – who have yet to register a point – were looking to derail the defending champions.
Ramon Diaz’s side had their first opportunity in the second minute when forward Abdullah Al Hamdan tried to score from distance but his powerful shot was punched away by Istiklol goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov.
Istiklol defended deep but were no match for Al Hilal’s superiority, conceding the opener in the eighth minute with Ighalo sending his header into the top right corner, finishing Salman Al Faraj’s cross.
Istiklol suffered another blow two minutes later when goalkeeper Yatimov suffered an injury with Mukhriddin Khasanov coming on.
Brazilian Michael then almost got on the scoresheet but he just failed to find the target from close range following Al Faraj’s delightful cross into the box.
Istiklol struggled to contain their opponents as Ighalo scored his second goal of the evening when he picked up Mohammed Al Burayk’s pass before expertly turning away from his marker to slot past Khasanov.
Al Dawsari then came close to adding to Al Hilal’s tally in the 40th minute but he sent his curling effort just wide, while Ighalo missed from close range at the stroke of half-time.
Istiklol were more adventurous in the second half and finally had their first sight on goal just before the hour mark when Eric Bocoum set up Muhammad Isaev but the second half substitute couldn’t find the target from the top of the box.
The Tajikistan side continued to press with Muhammad Isaev missing the target from distance but Al Dawsari had the final say, scoring from close range deep into added time as Al Hilal claimed their fourth consecutive win and a place in the Round of 16.
Credit Photo : AFC