Al Hilal, club from Saudi Arabia opening campaign with a win against Sharjah, club from UAE with a score 2-1 in the AFC Champions League 2022 group stage, Group A at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh.
Al Hilal had never beaten Sharjah in two previous encounters in the competition. They met in the group stage of the 2004 edition and played out a goalless draw in Riyadh before Sharjah handed Al Hilal their heaviest defeat in the competition, beating them 5-2 at home.
Both sides came racing out of the blocks and within the first seven minutes, there were already two goals in the game.
Al Hilal opened the scoring first in the fifth minute after Sharjah captain Shahin Abdulrahman brought Moussa Marega down inside the box and Saleh Al Shehri stepped up, sending goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani the wrong way from the spot.
Sharjah responded immediately after midfield enforcer Otabek Shukurov snatched the ball from Mohammed Kanno to start an attack that ended with Luanzinho squaring back for the Uzbek international who swept home the equaliser.
Goal scorer Al Shehri was stretched off in the 34th minute after suffering an injury following a challenge from Abdulrahman.
January signing Michael came close to finding the back of the net eight minutes before the break when he was set up by fellow Brazilian Matheus Pereira’s through pass and looked to find the bottom corner but Al Hosani made a diving save to deny him.
Michel finally got his first goal in Al Hilal colours, combining with Pereira once more. The former West Brom playmaker supplied a chipped pass for Michael who met it with a first-time left-footed strike into the back of the net in the 62nd minute.
Coach Cosmin Olaroiu’s men looked to respond quickly once more as Khaled Al Dhanhani embarked on a jinking run down the right, making his way into the box and attempting to finish from a tight angle but he was denied by goalkeeper Abdullah Al Mayouf.
End of the match, Al Hilal secured the first three points of the tournament , at scored 2-1
Credit Photo : AFC