Al Hilal blow as Carlos Eduardo out of final second leg

Al Hilal will be without star forward Carlos Eduardo for Saturday’s AFC Champions League final second leg against Urawa Red Diamonds.

Eduardo had to be replaced after just 19 minutes of last weekend’s first leg at the King Fahd International Stadium, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and there was immediately concern over the severity of the injury.

Nonetheless, the former Porto man travelled on Sunday with the team to Tokyo, where he was scheduled to undergo further tests.

And on Monday evening, it was confirmed by the club that he has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear and will not be available for the upcoming decider at the Saitama Stadium 2002.

The Brazilian will return to Riyadh on Tuesday before heading to Brazil, where he is scheduled to undergo surgery.

His absence will be a huge blow to Al Hilal’s prospects considering his seven goals in the Champions League thus far have been crucial in getting them this far.

In his absence, coach Ramon Diaz is likely to turn to Nawaf Al-Abed, the Saudi Arabia international who came on for Eduardo last Saturday and was a capable replacement.

Although Nawaf has not always been guaranteed a place in the starting XI this season, he is a seasoned campaigner with over 40 caps to his name and will not be overawed at having to come in on such a big occasion.

Meanwhile, it looks like Urawa will have better luck regarding an injury concern of their own.

Rafael Silva, who scored for them what could prove to be a crucial away goal, was also stretchered off shortly after the hour mark on Saturday.

But, according to the Brazilian, he will not be experiencing any lasting effects from the knock he picked up.

“My injury will not affect my chances of playing next week,” he said immediately after the first leg, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s official website.

“I will be ready for the second leg. I have a strong desire to conquer the AFC Champions League.”