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Advantage Urawa Reds after first-leg draw against Al-Hilal

AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Advantage Urawa Reds after first-leg draw against Al-Hilal

Advantage Urawa Reds after first-leg draw against Al-Hilal

STR

EFE

Urawa Red Diamonds claimed a 1-1 draw against Saudi giants Al Hilal in the first leg of their AFC Champions League final at the King Fahad International Stadium in Riyadh.

Japanese J-League outfit Urawa Red Diamonds claimed a 1-1 draw against Saudi giants Al Hilal in the first leg of their AFC Champions League final at the King Fahad International Stadium in Riyadh on Saturday.

Syrian striker Omar Kharbin was the hero for the hosts as he equalised in the 37th minute, after Rafael Silva's eighth goal of the tournament had stunned a large crowd in the Saudi capital.

Brazilian Silva took good advantage of a poor clearance by Salman al-Faraj with a fine solo run down the left flank before cutting inside and firing home a crucial away goal.

Urawa Reds' supporters cheer for their team during the Asian Champions League final football match between Japan's Urawa Reds and Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal on November 18, 2017, at King Fahd Stadium in the capital Riyadh. /

Al Hilal goalkeeper Abdulla al-Mayouf could have easily prevented the goal but al-Faraj's interference proved disastrous as it put the ball into Silva's path, who made no mistake from close range.

The hosts suffered a big blow when Carlos Eduardo limped off with a muscle injury in the 18th minute and was replaced by Nawaf al-Abid.

Home side domination 

But that didn't stop them from dominating the rest of the first half, with Urawa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa making a string of fine saves.

Al-Hilal player Omar Khribin (L) fights for the ball with Urawa Reds player Tomoaki Makino (R) during the final of the AFC Champions League soccer match between Al-Hilal FC and Urawa Reds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 18 November 2017.

Kharbin wasted a couple of chances before finally making amends, controlling a pass from Salem al-Dawsari and scoring to help the Saudi giants restore parity.

Al Hilal maintained their domination but failed to make good of the few half-chances that came their way, with Kharbin coming close to scoring in 90th minute, but his diving header proved weak.

Al-Hilal fans cheer for their team during the final of the AFC Champions League soccer match between Al-Hilal FC and Urawa Reds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 18 November 2017.

Al Hilal now travel to Saitama for the second leg on November 25, hoping to prevent Urawa Reds from adding to their 2007 title.

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