Bafetimbi Gomis brace helps Al Hilal clinch victory against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in ACL

Saudi champions come back from a goal down to triumph at the Rashid Stadium

Al Hilal forward Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates his goal during the AFC Champions League group B football match against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai at the Rashid Stadium on Monday. AFP
Al Hilal forward Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates his goal during the AFC Champions League group B football match against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai at the Rashid Stadium on Monday. AFP

Bafetimbi Gomis scored twice for defending champions Al Hilal as the Saudi side came back from a goal down to defeat Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 2-1 in the AFC Champions League at the Rashid Stadium on Monday.

The tall French striker found the back of the net on either side of the break. He headed the equaliser and fired the winner with a powerfully struck left-footed volley after Yousef Jaber had put the home side in front on 24 minutes.

It was Hilal’s second victory in as many games and they joined Uzbek side Pakhtakor on six points. The latter, however, top the Group B on goal difference after trouncing Shahr Khodro of Iran 3-0 earlier in the day.

For Shabab Al Ahli, it was their second defeat after they went down to Pakhtakor 2-1 last week.

The Arabian Gulf League side started well and were in front after Jaber rose above the Hilal defence to head a corner from Argentine winger Fede Cartabia to the far corner.

Home goalkeeper Majed Naser then did well to push out a free kick from Salman Al Faraj but the visitors didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser.

Sebastian Giovinco dribbled past two defenders and sent a chipped cross for Gomis, who beat defender Mohammed Marzouq in front of the goalmouth and headed home the equaliser in the 36th minute.

Spurred by the equaliser, the visitors made a few inroads in the Shabab Al Ahli area and were rewarded when Gomis was on target again on an Andre Carrillo cross.

Hilal came close to adding a third goal minutes later. Carillo swapped sides with Giovinco and the Italian sent a cross to the Peruvian who was perfectly positioned at the far post but failed to take his shot cleanly, sending it over the crossbar.

Hilal and Pakhtakor will now meet in a top-of-the-table clash in Riyadh on Match Day-Three on March 3 in Riyadh, while Shabab Al Ahli host Shahr Khodro on the same day.

Meanwhile in a Group A match, Al Wahda’s Congolese striker Paul-Jose M'Poku scored two minutes from time to give the Abu Dhabi side a 1-0 away win over Al Shorta of Iraq in Ebil.

The result took Wahda’s tally to four points after they played out a 1-1 draw against Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the opener last week.

Published: February 17, 2020 08:59 PM

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