Tuesday 26 September 2017, 20:04

Al Hilal claim big first-leg advantage

  • Omar Kharbin scores hat-trick to steer Al Hilal to big 4-0 win

  • Al Hilal played nearly the entire second half with ten men

  • The second leg will be played on 17 October in Muscat, Oman

Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal got an early advantage in their 2017 AFC Champions League semi-final tie with a 4-0 first-leg win over Iranian club Persepolis at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday.

Al Hilal owe their first-leg victory to Syria international forward Omar Kharbin, who scored a hat-trick, while Yasir Al Shahrani was also on target before the break, as the Saudi outfit put themselves in the driver's seat ahead of the second leg next month.

Al Hilal were dominant right from the start, and after missing some early chances, they eventually opened the scoring in the 31st minute when Mohammed Al Burayk delivered a cross from the left that was headed home by Kharbin at close range.

The Saudis continued their dominance and they managed to finish the first half with a second goal five minutes before the break. Al Shahrani led a quick counter-attack before scoring with his right foot from the edge of the area, beating Persepolis goalkeeper Ali Reza Beiranvand.

Persepolis were given the lifeline of a possible comeback four minutes after the restart after Al Hilal midfielder Abdullah Ateef received a second yellow card, putting the Saudi side down to ten men.

However, Al Hilal stunned their opponents by adding a third goal in the 54th minute. A low cross from Salem Al Dawsari found Kharbin inside the Persepolis box before he slotted the ball into the net from close range.

Kharbin rounded off a superb performance by scoring his third goal in the last minute following a quick counter-attack, as he struck home a powerful low shot from outside the area to seal an emphatic four-goal triumph. The result sees Al Hilal head into the second leg on 17 October in a commanding position.