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Al-Hilal vs Pohang Steelers summary: score, goals, highlights, AFC CL 2021 final

Soccer Football - Asian Champions League Final - Al Hilal v Pohang Steelers - King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudia Arabia - November 23, 2021 Al Hilal's Nasser Al-Dosari celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Ahmed Yosr

Al-Hilal vs Pohang Steelers live online

Comisirarations to the South Korean side but the men in red and black were outclassed this afternoon.

The whistle sounds and Al-Hilal are the AFC CL champions!!!!!!

Corner for the visitors and Al Hilar clear.

Last minute and still no way through for the Korean men. Great going forward and solid at the back, the key ingredients to Al Hilal's win


We'll have 4 minutes of added time.


Pohang go close and a shot destined for the Al-Hilal goal is blocked by the side in blue. From beginning to end, Al Hilal have been the hungrier side and Pohang have had no answer for the Saudi side and their manner of playing the game.


Five minutes remain here in Riyadh. Pohang Steelers running out of time as the home fans sense that history is on the cards with a 4th AFC CL title.

Gomis set to be replaced by Yasser Al-Shahrani

Pereira carded

To be honest, a 3rd Al Hilal goal looks more on the cards than a goal for the K-League side.


Less than ten remain at the King Fahd Stadium and Al-Hilal are edging closer to a 4th AFC CL win. No changes yet in the home side! Jardim happy with his initial XI.


Gomis breaks and attampts a subtle lob looking for Marega but Pohang cut the ball out


Pohang have upped the tempo bow as the clock ticks towards the 80 minute mark. Al Hilal sitting deep and happy to strike on the counter.


The ball falls to Pereira and the Brazilian shoots straight at the Pohang stopper with both sides of the goal mouth beckoning.

Palacios does well and wins a corner as we loom towards the 75th minute of action.


Abdullah Al-Mayouf makes an awful mess of coming for a cross ball and Min Gwang sees the ball robbed off his toes as the No. 4 was poised to strike.


Pohang need to show us now what they are made of. Despite passages of dominance in possession, the K-League side have never really held a string foothold in the game as a contest...having said that, conceding a goal in the first minute was never part of the script for the Korean side.

Lim Sang-hyub carded for a hack at Marega


Marega makes it 2-0 for Al-Hilal. Fine finish from the former FC Porto man as he sneaks in on the right hand side and slots home.

Marega drives the ball into the wall and Pohang try and work the ball out from the back again


Young Jun fouls and Al Hilal win another dangerous free kick. An hour of the game gone and the Saudi side still good value for their lead.


Pohang latch onto a loose ball but are unable to convert with a poor final shot that trickles wide.

Marega has been immense for Al Hilal today with the Malian international covering serious amounts of distance at the King Fahd Stadium.


Matheus Pereira looks at the wall and the goal mouth... The Brazilian shoots left footed but blazes the ball over the bar.

Free for Al-Hilal....More danger for Pohang.... the infringement is right on the edge of the box. Periera set to shoot.

Jeon Min-gwang carded for handball


A volley of boos ring out from the 60,000 strong crowd as Pohang retain possession. It's really only been on one occasion when the Korean side came close with that double effort in the first half.


Al Hilal work the ball well and almost create danger with a ball pulled back from the by-line. Pohang clear their lines and it's the side from Saudi Arabia on top as Grant, once again is called into action to avert the danger.

Changes for Pohang at the break....Go Young-joon and Jeon Min-gwang on and they replace Kvesic and Lee

Both sides return to the pitch with Al-Hilal just 45 minutes away from their fourth AFC CL title.

The whistle sounds and that brings the end to the first half


Last minute of the half and Pohang win a free kick. Danger for the home side... The ball ends up in the keeper's hands as three minutes will be added.

Kwon carded for Pohang, third booking of the evening

Al Hilal opener timed at 16 seconds !!!!!

At a rough guess, it would appear that there are approximately just 100 away fans in attendance at the King Fahd Stadium for the final. Covid complicating travel from Korea to the Gulf.


Kanno tries an ambitious flick and gives the ball away cheaply. Marega is fouled and the home side can take a breather as they rebuke wave after wave of Pohang attacks.

Shots: Al Hilal 4-2 Pohang


Dangerous ball from Palacios but the men in blue are level to the task and clear their lines.


Nasser Al-Dawsari's goal was the fastest ever in an AFC CL final!


Marega almost finds Gomis and the French striker sees his side footed effort deflected wide for a corner

Possession after 30: Al Hilal 49-51 (%) Pohang


Pohang remain true to their style as they work the ball well down the right hand channel. Al Hilal break but Palacios intervenes to break up the counter.

Yellow card for Moussa Marega as the striker becomes the second name in the ref's notebook this evening.


Once again, the ball falls to Gomis and the French striker shoots but drives the ball wide of the target.

Free for Al-Hilal but the ball is tamely struck at Pohang stopper Lee.

Grant is carded as he clips Marega.


Marega is a constant outlet for Al-Hilal as Gomis picks up the ball on the edge of the box but is hounded out by a sea of players in red and black.


Today's game and final is a wonderful snapshot into Saudi Arabian fan culture. The Al-Hilal supporters have been impressive and instrumental in driving their side on as the game drifts twoards the 20 minute mark.


The K-League side adamant that despite the scoreboard, they stay true to their passing game with no long balls from the South Korean side as they look to move the ball out from the back with short, neat passes.


Pohang enjoying the bulk of possession as they look to bounce back. Kvesic looking good as Pohang almost score with the woodwork and the Al Hilal keeper denying the visitors.

Wonderful levels of noise being generated by the home fans with Italian curva inspired call-response chants bellowing out.


Corner for Pohang as they look to bounce back from the early setback. Easy for Al-Hilal to deal with as the Saudi side launch a counter.

If tonight's task was complicated for the K-League side, playing 'away' and without key players, the last thing Pohang could afford is to give away a goal in the first minute of the game. Let's see how the Korean side respond.

Goooooooooooooo. 20 seconds gone and Al-Hilal take the lead...what a strike!!!!!!!!

Pre-match protocol, photos out of the way, all set at 'The Pearl' with the home side set to start the action

The teams take to the pitch in Riyadh, Al-Hilal in all blue and the South Korean side in their red and black hoops.

Blue Power tifo

Wonderful 'tifo' spelling out the words "Blue Power" on display in the main stand of the King Fahd Stadium

Infantino in Riyadh for final

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is present in the VIP sector for tonight's Asian showpiece final.

Fantastic atmosphere in 'The Pearl' stadium which is a mass of blue and white with 99% of those in attendance rooting for the side from Riyadh.

Covid reduces final to single game

Tonight's game will be only the sixth time, the AFC Champions League final will be played over one leg due to the ongoing effects and scheduling issues created by the covid pandemic.
Between 2009-2012 five finals were played in a single-leg format, with Pohang winning the first by defeating Al Ittihad in the final before fellow K League sides Seongnam (2010) and Ulsan (2012) also lifted the title. 

Gomis, Al-Hilal's danger man

Since making his AFC Champions League debut in 2019, Gomis has scored 17 goals, more than anybody in the competition in that time span. The French international has also enjoyed spells with Swansea City, Galatsaray and Olympique Marseille.

Bafetimbi Gomis, Al-Hilal danger man

Since making his AFC Champions League debut in 2019, Gomis has scored 17 goals, more than anybody in the competition in that time span. The French international has also enjoyed spells with Swansea City, Galatsaray and Olympique Marseille.


UAE match official team

The AFC have selected a team of match officials from the United Arab Emirates which will be led by match official Muhammad Abdullah Hassan

Club World Cup access for winners

The winners of tonight's game will secure a place in the FIFA Club World Cup which is expected to be staged in the UAE in early 2022. The victors will join the likes of Chelsea, Monterrey and Al-Ahly in looking to succeed Bayern Munich as club champions.

Key absentees for Pohang

The South Korean side will be without the services of midfielder Lee Seung-mo and goalkeeper Kang Hyeon-mu. Lee wasn't allowed to leave the country after having failed to fulfill his community service hours requirement upon receiving a military service exemption with a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. Kang underwent season-ending ankle surgery in October.

68,000 fans expected

The AFC confirmed that the King Fahd International Stadium will be open for full capacity in meaning there could be as many as 68,000 supporters in attendance tonight with fans advised to respect the ongoing covid 19 requirements.

Pohang Steelers have never tasted defeat in the final of Asia’s biggest club competition with opponents Al Hilal having endured the highs and lows of the grand final and tonight's game will be the Saudi sides record eighth appearance in the fixture.


Starting XI's


Al-Hilal and Pohang to face off with Asian record on the line

History will be made whoever raises the Asian Champions League's wheel-shaped trophy above their heads in Riyadh tonight as Al Hilal and Pohang Steelers face off in the title decider.

The pair are the only outfits to have been Asian champions on three occasions each, ensuring the winners at the King Fahd International Stadium will stand alone as the continent's most successful club.

Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal go into the final as favourites, two years after last claiming the trophy to add to victories in the Asian Club Championship - the precursor to the Asian Champions League - in 1991 and 2000.

Currently coached by former Monaco tactician Leonardo Jardim, the Riyadh-based club have been at the forefront of a resurgence for Saudi Arabian football in recent years.

Their 2019 success saw them avenge a loss in the 2017 final at the hands of Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds while nine of the club's players featured in the national squad that ended the country's World Cup exile in Russia in 2018.

Al Hilal players continue to make their presence known in the national squad as the Saudis close in on Qatar 2022 while in ex-France forward Bafetimbi Gomis they have a striker who has regularly found the net in the Asian Champions League.

In contrast, Pohang have fallen short of the standards set during the club's heyday, when they were among Asia's best and dominated the scene in South Korea.

Kim Gi-dong's side have struggled domestically this season, missing out on a spot in the K-League championship rounds soon after booking their berth in the Asian Champions League final.

Match day

Al-Hilal XI

Al H

Reaching AFC Champions League final not enough for Al Hilal, says Gomis

Only victory will be good enough for Al Hilal when they take on South Korea's Pohang Steelers in the Asian Champions League final on Tuesday, says Bafetimbi Gomis, as both clubs look to become the first four-time continental champions.

The final will be played in front of Al Hilal's fans at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, with the Saudi Arabian side favourites to add the title to continental crowns won in 1991, 2000 and 2019.

"It was our target, our dream (to be in the final), but I don't know if the word dream is the right word because Hilal always has, as a target, the Asian Champions League," Gomis told The Asian Game podcast. "Since the beginning of the competition our target is to win, it's not to reach the final."

The Saudi side won the title in 2019 to end a 19-year drought in the continent's premier club competition, only to be kicked out of last year's tournament during the group stage when a covid-19 outbreak meant Al Hilal were unable to field a team.


Pohang's Grant relishing underdog tag ahead of Al Hilal clash

Even as they chase a record fourth continental title, Pohang Steelers go into tonight's Asian Champions League final against Al Hilal as underdogs, leaving defender Alex Grant relishing being written off once more.

The South Korean side have already overcome the odds and disappointing domestic form to reach the decider, where they face an Al Hilal side heavily favoured to win a fourth title of their own.

Former Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim leads a team packed with Saudi Arabia internationals and which features talent of the calibre of Bafetimbi Gomis, Andre Carillo and Matheus Pereira.

Playing the final at home in front of a 60,000 crowd at the King Fahd International Stadium will give the Saudis a boost as they look to add the trophy to their Asian titles won in 1991, 2000 and 2019.

But, rather than be overawed, Grant is looking forward to the task that lies ahead.

"We'll lap it up," says the England-born defender. "What an experience. "If we win we'll deserve it - but to sweep it from under their grasp would be great. I can't wait, just to play in front of a packed stadium."

Countdown to ko underway

With kick-off looming, the King Fahd International Stadium s starting to fill up with a predominantly blue and white crowd expected in Riyadh today. There will be a small pocket of Pohang fans present but they will be massively outnumbered by fans supporting the Saudi side.

The action from Riyadh's King Fahd International Stadium gets underway at 17:00 CET/11:00 ET.

Hello and a warm welcome to our live coverage of the 2021 AFC Champions League final as Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) face Pohang Steelers (South Korea).