A hattrick from birthday boy Bafetimbi Gomis fired Al Hilal FC to a 4-2 win over Al Ahli FC in the first leg of their AFC Champions League Round of 16 tie at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Wednesday.
Former Lyon and Swansea City striker had equalised twice for his side in the all-Saudi Arabian tie in the AFC Champions League before firing them into the lead in the 65th minute while Abdullah Al-Hafith found their fourth with nine minutes left on the clock.
AFC Champions League 2019: Al Ahli FC 2-3 Al Hilal FC (Bafetimbi Gomis 65′)
Hosts Al Ahli had began the game with a bang as their prolific Syrian goalscorer Omar Al-Soma tapped in to make it 1-0 as early as the sixth minute. However, it only took Gomis, celebrating his 34th birthday, nine minutes to find an equaliser in Jeddah.
However, Al Ahli once again hurt their local rivals on a quick counter in the 39th minute when Cape Verdean forward Djaniny got behind Al Hilal’s defensive line and scored past goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf to reclaim their lead before half time.
Three minute after the restart, Al Hilal were back level when a loose ball from a free kick fell to Gomis inside the box and the former France international blasted his shot into the roof of the net to make it 2-2.
An entertaining @TheAFCCL Round of 16 first leg tie in Jeddah sees visitors Al Hilal outclass Al Ahli to take a 4-2 advantage to the second leg!
— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) August 6, 2019
The 34-year-old then made it a birthday to cherish when he completed his hattrick in the 65th minute. Al-Hafith would then give the visitors a two-goal advantage scoring from a corner kick towards the dying moments of the game as newly-appointed Al Ahli head coach Branko Ivankovic stares at a second elimination from the ACL this season having already crashed out of the group stages with last year’s finalists Persepolis.
The second leg of the Round of 16 tie is to be played at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on August 13.