More about Al-Hilal in Asian League victory.
Tuesday, as Al-Hilal defeated Iran’s Nassaji Mazandaran 3-0 at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in the group round of the Asian Champions League, Neymar scored his first goal since his high-profile move to Saudi Arabia.
The Brazilian scored in an incident-filled match that saw both teams reduced to 10 men with seven minutes left in the first half. The Brazilian joined the Saudi Pro League team from Paris St. Germain for 90 million euros ($94.23 million) in the summer.
Aleksandar Mitrovic had put the Saudi team ahead in the 18th minute before referee Ma Ning dismissed Salman Al Faraj of Al-Hilal and Amir Houshmand of Nassaji following a struggle on the field.
In the 58th minute, Neymar scored with his left foot to extend Al-Hilal’s advantage, and in final minutes, replacement Saleh Al Shehri sealed the victory.
Al-Hilal have not previously won in the group stage of a continental tournament this year after beginning their campaign last month with a draw against Navbahor.
After defeating Mumbai City 3-0 on Tuesday, the Uzbek team joined Al-Hilal atop Group D with four points. Goals from Jamshid Iskanderov, Jasurbek Yakhshiboev, and Doniyor Abdumannopov sealed the victory.
With a 4-2 victory over Turkmenistan’s Ahal, Al Ain from the United Arab Emirates took sole control of first place in Group A, while Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan fell to a 2-0 defeat to Al Fayha of Saudi Arabia.
Al Ain followed up their victory over Pakhtakor in the first round with a strong offensive display in front of their own supporters. Brazilian midfielder Erik gave the previous champions the lead in the fourth minute with a precise finish.
Al Ain enjoyed a three-goal advantage at the half thanks to Soufiane Rahimi and Kodjo Laba, and even though Elman Tagayew drew a goal back for the visitors in the 58th, Kouame Kouadio added a fourth, making Dayanch Meredow’s late goal simply a consolation.
Abdelhamid Sabiri scored a goal for Al Ain in each half of their 2-0 victory over Pakhtakor at home, giving them a three-point lead over Ahal and Al Fayha.
The top teams from each of the 10 four-team group’s advance automatically to the round of 16, leaving spots for the three teams from the east and west of the continent with the best records as runners-up.