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Al Hilal move into Champions League last 16 despite defeat

Former champions Al Hilal squeezed into the knockout rounds of the Asian Champions League by the slimmest of margins on Friday because the 2019 winner progressed to the last 16 as among the finest runner-up despite a 2-0 loss by the hands of Shabab Al Ahli.

Igor Jesus’s brace earned the already-eliminated membership from the United Arab Emirates all three factors in Riyadh, however a 1-1 draw between Group C rivals Al Duhail from Qatar and Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia meant Al Hilal secured the ultimate runners-up berth.

Only the ten group winners within the newly expanded competitors are assured to qualify for the Round of 16 and they’re joined within the knockout rounds by the six greatest runners-up.

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Clubs within the west Asian half of the draw have been taking part in in centralised hubs as a result of pandemic all through April, with groups within the east set to play their matches in June and July.

Al Hilal completed second in Group A behind debutant Istiklol from Tajikistan, which misplaced 2-1 in its remaining group match towards AGMK from Uzbekistan, however each golf equipment progressed.

The membership is joined within the subsequent section of the competitors by Iranian sides (*16*) and Tractor.

(*16*) topped Group C in Jeddah because of its 1-0 win over Iraq’s Al Shorta whereas Tractor booked its spot from Group B as one of many three greatest runners-up from west Asia.

The pair be a part of compatriots Persepolis within the subsequent spherical after they confirmed their progress on Thursday as Group E winners.

Sharjah from the UAE had additionally superior in first place from Group B on Thursday whereas Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr had certified as Group D champion.

Al Wahda, additionally from the UAE, had already claimed one of many runners-up berths, leaving the battle for the 2 remaining runners-up spots to go right down to the wire on Friday.

The 1-1 draw between Al Duhail and Al Ahli proved pivotal, with each groups needing to win to remain alive.

Michael Olunga gave Al Duhail the lead with a free kick earlier than a 67th minute penalty miss by the Kenya worldwide swung occasions away from the Qatari membership.

Asiri Haitham levelled for Al Ahli six minutes later and the ensuing draw meant Al Hilal sneaked in to take the third runners-up spot forward of Xavi Hernandez’s Al Sadd by advantage of getting scored extra targets.

The outcomes imply last 12 months’s overwhelmed finalist Persepolis will tackle Istiklol in September’s Round of 16 with Sharjah assembly Al Wahda in an all-UAE conflict.

Iranian groups will meet golf equipment from Saudi Arabia within the different two matches, with (*16*) taking up Al Hilal and Tractor assembly Al Nassr.

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