September 19, (THEWILL) – The Saudi Arabian club, Al Hilal and the Uzbekistani debutants, Navbahor Namangan, played out a 1-1 draw in their first match of the AFC Champions League group stage on Monday.
The game was held at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, and the visitors took the lead in the 51st minute, after both sides had laboured in vain to find the back of the net in a barren first half diplay. Navbahor did not look comfortable with their advantage and Neymar was creating chances for his teammates to find a leveller.
As the second half progressed, Navbahor, who qualified for the tournament by winning the Uzbekistan Cup, showed resilience and determination to stay in the game. The frustration appeared to have got the better of Neymar, who was yellow-carded for shoving Abrorbek Ismoilov and kicking the ball at him as he fell to the ground. It seemed something Ismoilov said did not go down well with Neymar.
However, the expensively set up Al Hilal found their elusive goal extremely late, in the 10th minute of extra time through Ali Al-Boleahi. The Brazilian Michael supplied the sumptuous cross that Al-Boleahi headed to the bottom left corner of the net to elicit cheerful celebrations from the home fans.
In their next round of fixtures, Al Hilal are on the road against Damac FC on Thursday in the Saudi Pro League while Navbahor play Andijan in the Super League on Saturday, September 23.
About the Author
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.