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Al-Hilal suffers Asian Champions League semifinal exit against Al-Ain

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Al-Hilal, the last Saudi club in the Asian Champions League, faced heartbreak as they were eliminated by Al-Ain on Tuesday, despite a valiant effort at home.

Despite a spirited 2-1 victory on their home turf in Riyadh, Al-Hilal’s hopes were dashed by a 4-2 aggregate defeat, following a disappointing performance in the first leg.

The Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who was sidelined for the initial encounter, returned to the squad but was unable to prevent Al-Hilal’s early exit.

Notably absent from the lineup was Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly, whose absence was keenly felt by Jorge Jesus’ side.

Al-Hilal started the match on a promising note, with Ruben Neves converting a penalty in the 4th minute, setting the stage for a potential comeback.

However, Al-Ain quickly responded, with Erik finding the back of the net in the 12th minute, leveling the score and dampening Al-Hilal’s hopes of a swift turnaround.

Despite Al-Dawsari’s efforts to put Al-Ain ahead once again early in the second half, Al-Hilal’s resilience kept the match tense and competitive.

However, despite several scoring opportunities, Al-Hilal struggled to capitalize on their chances, ultimately falling short due to a lack of efficiency in front of goal.

The match took a dramatic turn in the dying moments when Al-Hilal’s Palacios appeared to equalize, only to have his goal disallowed by VAR, adding to the frustration of the home crowd and sealing Al-Hilal’s fate in the tournament.

Despite the disappointment, Al-Hilal’s journey in the Asian Champions League showcased their determination and skill, with standout performances from players like Soufiane Rahimi, the tournament’s top scorer with 11 goals, whose contributions were instrumental in Al-Hilal’s campaign.

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As Al-Hilal bows out of the competition, they will undoubtedly reflect on their achievements and look ahead to future opportunities to reclaim glory on the continental stage.

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