Al Ain v Al Hilal: Postponed ACL semi-final to be played Wednesday

First-leg clash in Garden City was called off on Tuesday following thunderstorms in UAE

Thunderstorms continue to lash the UAE

Thunderstorms continue to lash the UAE
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UAE weather live: Emirates hit by severe storms

The highly anticipated Asian Champions League semi-final between Al Ain and Al Hilal has been postponed until Wednesday after rain and thunderstorms hit the UAE.

The first leg, which pits against one another 2003 Asian champions Al Ain and record four-time winners Hilal, was initially scheduled to take place on Tuesday night at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

However, the game has been pushed back 24 hours because of the adverse weather conditions that blanketed the Emirates on Tuesday morning, with more forecast for later in the afternoon.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Al Ain said they “welcomed” the Asian Football Confederation’s decision to postpone the game “for the safety of fans who are scheduled to arrive from all the emirates of the country and the sister kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

The first leg will kick off at the same time of 8pm, with the original matchday tickets remaining valid.

So far, there is no news on whether the return fixture, originally slated for April 23 in Riyadh, will be affected by the postponement. Hilal, runners-up last year, are currently on a world-record run of 34 consecutive wins. They hold a 12-point lead at the top of the Saudi Pro League.

Al Ain, meanwhile, lie third in the Adnoc Pro League. They are three-time Champions League finalists, most recently in 2016.

Hernan Crespo's side overcame Hilal's fellow Saudi giants Al Nassr in the quarter-finals. They beat Cristiano Ronaldo's side 1-0 in the first leg in the UAE and then went through after a penalty shootout in Riyadh, prevailing 3-1 on spot-kicks after the match finished 4-3 to the hosts to leave the tie level at 4-4.

Soufiane Rahimi scored the only goal of the first leg at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, the Moroccan also bagging a brace at Al Awwal Stadium, with Sultan Al Shamsi getting the other goal.

Al Hilal also inflicted defeat on Al Nassr, beating their Riyadh rivals 2-1 in the Saudi Super Cup semi-final in Abu Dhabi before going on to win against Al Ittihad in the final.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Football Association confirmed all matches in local football competitions would be postponed, including the two scheduled fixtures in the Adnoc Pro League between Al Jazira and Khorfakkan, and Ajman and Al Bataeh.

Updated: April 17, 2024, 6:30 AM