Al Hilal’s perfect start in AFC Champions League 2019 came to an end as they were beaten 2-1 by Group C rivals Esteghlal at the Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium.
Having claimed victories in their opening two matches against Al Ain and Al Duhail, Al Hilal were looking to make it three wins in a row and move one step closer to the Round of 16 with another win on Monday.
But it was Esteghlal who edged ahead after just six minutes when a corner from Ayanda Patosi was met by Ali Karimi with a thumping header that flew past Abdullah Al-Mayouf at the near post.
Right on the half-hour mark, the Iranian giants doubled their advantage when a freekick was played over the top and Mohammad Daneshgar nodded it on towards the back post, where centre-back partner Pejman Montazeri was on hand to head home after being left unmarked.
From then on, Esteghlal were always in control of proceedings but Al Hilal did pull one back in the 71st minute after opposition left-back Milad Zakipour miscued his clearance from Hassan Kadesh’s cross into the path of Bafetimbi Gomis, who made no mistake in sweeping home from close range.
Nonetheless, Esteghlal were able to hold out for the remainder of the contest to not only end their opponents’ 100 per cent record in Group C, but also claim their first win of the campaign in the process.
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) April 8, 2019
ESTEGHLAL: Hossein Hosseini, Khosro Heydari, Mohammad Daneshgar, Pejman Montazeri, Milad Zakipour, Omid Noorafkan, Ali Karimi, Dariush Shojaeian, Ayanda Patosi, Farshid Esmaeili (Armin Sohrabian 90+3’), Esmael Goncalves (Godwin Mensha 89’).
AL HILAL: Abdullah Al-Mayouf, Mohammed Al-Breik, Mohammed Jahfali, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Hassan Kadesh, Milos Degenek (Nasser Al-Dawsari 62’), Sebastian Giovinco (Nawaf Al-Abed 69’), Carlos Eduardo, Mohammad Al-Shalhoub, Hattan Bahebri (Yasser Al-Shahrani 65’), Bafetimbi Gomis.