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Al Hilal Set World Record To Reach Asian Champions League Semi-Finals

Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal set a world record for consecutive victories with their 28th win in a row to reach the Asian Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday. A 2-0 victory at fellow Saudi side Al Ittihad saw them surpass the previous record of 27 straight wins by a top-flight team, set by Welsh team The New Saints in 2016. Riyadh-based Hilal, already the most successful team in AFC Champions League history with four titles, went through 4-0 on aggregate in Jeddah.

Runners-up last year, Hilal triumphed in the quarter-final second leg at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium with second-half goals from Yasser Al Shahrani and the Brazilian Malcom.

Hilal will meet Al Ain of the UAE in the last four next month following the 2003 champions’ penalty shootout win against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr on Monday.

Ittihad’s miserable night was summed up in the final minute of normal time when striker Abderrazak Hamdallah was given a second booking for grabbing Hilal defender Ali Al Bulaihi by the throat.

The confrontation sparked a number of clashes between the opposing sets of players.

Ittihad, Champions League winners in 2004 and 2005, were missing a number of key players.

Karim Benzema, the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner signed last summer from Real Madrid, was once more missing through injury, while 2018 World Cup winner N’Golo Kante was suspended after being sent off in the first leg.

However, it was the current Saudi Pro League champions who carried the greater threat for the majority of the encounter.

Ittihad almost opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Romarinho’s left-foot strike from the edge of the Hilal penalty area cannoned back off the post.

At the beginning of the second half Hilal goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais was twice called into action. First, the Saudi Arabia international blocked Marwan Al Sahafi’s low strike on the counter, before he leapt to his right to brilliantly palm away Ahmed Al Ghamdi’s fierce drive.

Yet on 61 minutes Hilal made safe their spot in the semi-finals.

Salem Al Dawsari played in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic for the Serbian international to feed Al Shahrani, who placed low past Ittihad goalkeeper Abdullah Al Mayouf.

Malcom then wrapped up the result deep into injury time, racing onto Aleksandar Mitrovic’s through ball to seal a memorable night for the Riyadh giants.

Hilal, who lead the Saudi Pro League by 12 points, have won their past nine Champions League matches. They lifted the trophy most recently in 2021.

Ulsan edge Jeonbuk

Earlier on Tuesday, South Korea’s Ulsan moved into the semi-finals with a 1-0 second-leg win over Jeonbuk Motors to squeeze past their countrymen 2-1 on aggregate.

The result also sent Ulsan a step closer to clinching a place at next year’s expanded Club World Cup, which will be played between 32 teams in the United States.

Ulsan will face either Japan’s Yokohama F-Marinos or China’s Shandong Taishan next month for a place in the Champions League final.

Seol Young-woo’s volley in first-half injury time was enough to settle a tense quarter-final second leg between two teams who have shared the last seven K-League titles between them.

Yokohama and Shandong play in Japan on Wednesday with Harry Kewell’s Yokohama 2-1 ahead after the first leg.

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