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Urawa Red Diamonds

Impressive Al-Hilal take slender lead to Saitama in AFC CL

Al-Hilal supporters cheer ahead of the first leg of the AFC Champions League final between Saudi's Al-Hilal and Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds at the King Saud University Stadium in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 9, 2019.

Al-Hilal vs Urawa Red Diamonds

All to play for though in Saitama on Novemner 24 

That's it ... all over in Riyadh. A well deserved win for the home side.  

Nawaf almost bags a late second but blasts into the side netting 

3 minutes of time to be added

Into the final minute we go

Mohamed Kanno (28) on for Otayf

Sekine off-Ugajin on

Giovinco is the player to come off for Wawaf. Great perfiormance from the Italian tonight. 

Nawaf Al Abed poised to come on for Al Hilal 

...and surely Urawa can´t play as negatively as this in front of their home Saitama crowd?

As good as Al Hilal have been tonight, I'm sure their fans will be disappointed with the narrow margin of the win. 

Possession after 79'- 73-27 (%) in favour of the home side


I'm struggling to recall a Urawa attack never mind shot in the first half.

Sugimoto on / Nagasawa off for Urawa

Al-Hilal have been so, so, so good tonight 

Giovinco has another long range effort but fires straight at Fukushima . 


The ball is in the Urawa net but the flag is up. A wrong call from the officials with no Al Hilal player in an offside position.

The return leg will be staged incidentally on 24.11 (a 1100 CET start)  

Al-Hilal boss Lucescu will surely want more from his side with a solitary goal a small margin to take to Saitama for the return leg. 


Al Hilal press again with Giovinco almost making it 2. The level of submission being shown by the Jaopanse side is staggering.


Will the goal prompt the visitors to come out ? Al Hilal go close again with another howler from the Japanese stopper.  

Poor keeping from Fukushima as he comes for a ball from  Al-Burayk and misses it in the air. Carrillo with the finish noddimng into an empty net.


Al-Hilal go ahead


Urawa sitting so deep. The Japanese side have barley had the ball in the opposition half. Salem goes achingly close for Al Hilal with the ball zipping inches wide. 

The ball actually strikes Hashioka on the arm but the ref. fails to spot the infringement. Play carrys on.

The Italian strikes low and hard but into the wall.

Al-Hilal win a dangerous free as Aoki fouls Giovinco. The Italian poised to take.  



Early corner for the home side who continue to pile on the pressure. Giovinco takes but the ball is cleared. Al-Hilal need to make their pressure count tonight with a 0-0 certainly deemed to be a disapointing scoreline from what we've seen. 

We're underway again in the Saudi capital.

The teams return to the pitch in Riyadh. What can the visitors bring to the table in the  forthcoming 45'?

The whistle sounds and brings an entertaining half to an end. Al-Hilal well on top here but yet to open the scoring. Disappointed with the J-League side but their coach Otsuki will be happier with the scoreboard.

We'll have one minute of added time.

Fukushima collides with Gomis and needs attention.


Call for a handball from the home side as Ewerton clears the ball. Nothing doing for the Iraqui refere.  

Al Bulayhi carded for a rash challenge. The Al-Hilal man is the first name in the book.  

Urawa with a chance of their own but the flag is up for offside.


Gomis now goes close heading over the bar. A goal for the men in blue surely now just a question of time.

The ball goes agonsiingly over the bar with Fukushima well beaten. 

Al-Hilal go inches away from opening the scoring.   

Off the line. Giovinco almost secure the opener but Aoki manages to save as the ball was goal bound.   


These home fans really are making a racket tonight. Have to admit that Saudi Arabian fan culture not a strong point but am most impressed with the constant level of support for the men in blue.


Saudi national team manager Herve Renard spotted in the crowd tonight.


Surprising to see how the Japanese side are unable to get their passing game going which is due to pressing from Al-Hilal and individual sloppiness. 

Sekine looking bright for Urawa creating danger on the left flank.


Possession: 60-40 (%) Al Hilal-Urawa


20' gone and clear domination from the men in blue with Giovinco carving out the best chance for the home side to date. 


Urawa launch a counter and carve out a fine chance with Al Muaiouf saving. This appears to be the pattern on the game ...Urawa lauynching breaks as Al-Hilal dominate possession.  


Giovinco goes close but the Italian fails to get the ball under control and hits over. Al-Hilal in total control.  

Ali Adday from Iraq is out match official tonight.


A cagey start from both sides with nothing to trouble either goalkeeper. Al-Hilal the team showing most initattive. 


Urawa unable to retain the ball as Giovinco is tackled from behind and the Italian writhes in pain. Good news for Al-Hilal fans is that he seems okay to continue.  


Urawa on the ball and a ferocious ring of whistles ring out to distract the Japanese side.

The home side are the favoured team in today's game at least for the bookmakers. An away win for the J-League side paying out at 4/1.  


The home side enjoying all the early possession with the blue clad supporters doing their bit to drive their side forward.  

Off we go Al Hilal get the action underway with tremendous noise levels at the stadium


The visitors from Japan too in their home shirt of deep red. 

Al Hilal

The home side wearing their classic blue shirt tonight. 


A balmy evening in the Saudi capital with a current temperature of 27C. No rain forecast for the duration of the action. 

Japaneses sides looking to make a hat-trick of AFC Champions League wins after Urawa's 2017 win, Kashima Antlers claimed the title in 2018 and Urawa back on the hunt again this year.  


Home fans already in place at the King Saud Stadium with kick off looming  

The 2019 AFC Champions League final provides a perfect opportunity for Al-Hilal to avenge their 2017 loss to the same opponents where the Saudi side went down 2-1 on aggregate. 

Both teams starting XI's now confirmed


The view from the Urawa end.

Al Hilal confirm their starting XI

The action from Riyadh gets underway at 17:30 CET with a packed 25,000 King Saud University Stadium expectant.

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the first leg of the 2019 Asian Champions League final as Al-Hilal face Urawa Red Diamonds.