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Moroccan forward Soufiane Rahimi scored in the sixth minute and then struck in the 26th and 38th minute through penalties. Image Credit: Source: Al Ain FC/X

Dubai: Soufiane Rahimi scored a hat-trick as Al Ain defeated Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal 4-2 in the Asian Champions League semi-final first leg at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in the Garden City yesterday.

Moroccan forward Rahimi scored in the sixth minute and then struck in the 26th and 38th minute through penalties while Alejandro Romero scored in the 56th minute.

For Al Hilal, Malcom scored in the 49th minute while Salem Aldawsari scored in the 78th minute.

Hernan Crespo’s side will travel for the second leg on April 23 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.

Ulsan edge Yokohama

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ulsan claimed a slender lead in their Asian Champions League semi-final with a 1-0 win over Harry Kewell’s Yokohama F-Marinos in yesterday’s first leg.

The victory also clinched Ulsan’s place at next year’s Club World Cup.

They qualified as one of Asia’s highest-ranking teams and will be one of 32 sides appearing at the expanded competition in the United States.

Lee Dong-gyeong scored in the 19th minute at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium to give the South Korean champions the advantage heading into next week’s second leg in Japan.

Ulsan are looking to win Asia’s top club title for a third time while Yokohama are appearing in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time.

Former Liverpool and Leeds forward Kewell replaced fellow Australian Kevin Muscat as Yokohama coach at the start of the year.

Brightest start

Ulsan made the brighter start and Um Won-sang should have done better when Gustav Ludwigson teed him up in front of goal following a stray pass from the Yokohama defence.

Lee showed him how it was done just over five minutes later, firing Ulsan in front with a crisp left-foot shot from Joo Min-kyu’s lay-off.

Ulsan proceeded to sit on their lead and almost paid the price as Yokohama threatened with two free-kicks from dangerous positions late in the first half.

The Japanese side kept up their attacking intent after the break, with Brazilian forward Anderson Lopes giving the Ulsan defence all sorts of problems.

But the Koreans were a constant menace on the counter-attack and Joo hit the post twice in the space of two minutes, the second after a sprawling save from Yokohama goalkeeper William Popp.

Yan Matheus missed Yokohama’s best chance to equalise when he missed the target from close range with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Asian Football Confederation teams will fill four places at the Club World Cup.

—With inputs from AFP