Foolad suffer late loss against Al Hila in ACL quarterfinals

February 23, 2023 - 23:58

TEHRAN - Defending champions Al Hilal SFC left it late to defeat Foolad 1-0 on Thursday thanks to Moussa Marega’s 87th minute strike, to qualify for the AFC Champions League 2022 West semi-final.

The last obstacle on Al Hilal’s march towards a fifth continental final in the last nine years will be Qatar’s Al Duhail, who advanced to the semi-final after defeating Al Shabab 2-1 earlier on Thursday.

Roberto Torres’ excellent delivery into the box was headed just over the crossbar by Hamid Bou Hamdan, then Ehsan Pahlavan forced a fine save from Abdullah Al Mayouf after firing in from a narrow angle, while the Al Hilal goalkeeper had to recover and make a second excellent save after initially dropping the ball into the path of Torres.

Coach Hamidreza Rajabi’s men were inches away from finding a winner as Torres’ out-swinging cross from the corner found youngster Amin Hazbavi and the 19-year-old defender beat Al Mayouf with a header, but could not beat the crossbar as the ball bounced back to him and he skied his second attempt.

With three minutes remaining, Saleh Al Shehri sent Marega a fine pass and the Malian forward took control and applied his trademark finish from the right into the bottom corner to win it for Al Hilal.

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