Al Hilal star Kharbin calls for calm despite hat-trick heroics

Al Hilal striker Omar Kharbin insists his side can ill afford to get ahead of themselves despite beating Persepolis 4-0 in the first leg of their AFC Champions League semi-final.

Kharbin was in inspired form at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday, notching a perfect hat-trick to help the Saudi outfit take a huge step towards the final of Asia’s premier club competition.

This year’s Champions League has seen its fair share of epic comebacks but, even then, few would be backing Persepolis to turn the tie around in the return encounter on October 17.

However, Kharbin has stressed that there is still work to do if Al Hilal are to progress in their quest to become Asian champions for a third time following their successes of 1991 and 2000.

“We came here to get a result and we did,” said the Syria international on the AFC’s official website.

“This is just the first half and there is still a second half in Muscat.

“We need to do a good job there and progress to the final.”

The emphatic nature of Al Hilal’s win was all the more remarkable given they played over 40 minutes with a numerical deficit, following the dismissal of Abdullah Otayf early in the second half.

Expectedly, Al Hilal manager Ramon Diaz was effusive in his praise of his charges for the good mentality they displayed.

“The players did very well [on Tuesday],” explained the Argentinean.

“We were at our best and the players made the most out of their technical abilities.

“The secret to our win is hard work and concentration. The players are used to this type of pressure and they were mentally present today and that helped us a lot.”

Following his heroics on Tuesday, Kharbin is now one of six players tied on seven goals in this season’s Champions League, two behind leading scorer Hulk of Shanghai SIPG.