March 1 – Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal stormed into the final of the AFC Champions League 2022 Final with a thumping 7-0 win over Qatar’s Al Duhail in Doha.

Al Hilal, who came to global attention with their spirited appearance in the World Club Cup final against Real Madrid last month, produced a spectacular performance to advance to their fourth Asian Champions League final in six years, keeping them on course to retain their title, which would be their third in four years.

In their way now are Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds, winners of the East zone semi-final. The two-legged decider will be played April 29 and May 6, with the second leg in Saitama, Japan.

Four-goal hero Odion Ighalo was Al Hilal’s stand-out striker as the Saudis started fast, with Ighalo scoring in the second-minute to lay the groundwork. By half time they were 5-0 up.

Goals by Moussa Marega (two) and Salem Al Dawsari (one) completed the scoring.

Al Hilal are only the second team in the history of the AFC Champions League to qualify for the final in two consecutive seasons. They have won their last nine knockout matches in the AFC Champions League, which is the longest consecutive winning streak in the knockout stages in the history of the tournament.

While the scoreline was emphatic, Al Duhail still forced goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf to make seven saves.

The final is set up nicely with the two highest scoring teams in the competition this season who can scored from a variety of positions. Both teams have had 12 different players on the score sheet this season.

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