Doha: Bafetimbi Gomis and Sebastian Giovinco starred as Saudi giants Al Hilal grabbed a 3-1 victory over Qatari champions Al Duhail to take top spot in Group C of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday, as Al Ain drew with Esteghlal.
Al Duhail’s new signing Shoya Nakajima’s 75th-minute strike had cancelled out a first-half Carlos Eduardo goal, but Ali Al Bulayhi put the hosts ahead again in the 77th minute, chesting the ball over the line from Italy international Giovinco’s corner at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh.
Rui Faria’s men barely had time to regroup before former Lyon and Swansea City striker Gomis made it 3-1 in the 79th minute, rounding goalkeeper Amine Lecomte and firing into the roof of the net after a pass from Salem Al Dawsari.
The win gave two-time champions Al Hilal top spot in the group with six points, following their opening victory over the UAE’s Al Ain 1-0 last week.
Iran’s Esteghlal and Al Ain played out a 1-1 draw to give the Abu Dhabi club their first point of the tournament.
After a cautious start to the game, Al Ain were twice denied by the woodwork and Esteghlal made them pay by taking the lead in the 53rd minute. A free-kick by Ayanda Patosi was met by Farshid Bagheri and he nodded home past Khalid Eisa.
Al Ain piled the pressure in the final 10 minutes as they hunted for an equaliser and Tsukasa Shiotani came to their rescue three minutes before the end, when he pounced on a loose ball to score and grab a share of the points.