(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Two goals in extra time yesterday helped Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia reach the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League.
Al Gharafa of Qatar won the match 4-2 but lost the quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate after the Saudi side scored two goals in the second half of the extra time. The Qatari club lost the first leg 3-0 last week.
Trailing 0-4, Al Hilal produced two goals in the second half of extra time to edge Al Gharafa. Goals by Yasser Al Qahtani (28th minute) and Eysa Mohammed a minute later sealed Al Hilals fate.
For the home team Younes Mahmood scored two goals while his team-mates Mirghani Al Zaini and Othman El Assas chipped in with one goal each in regulation time.
I am happy we have qualified, Eric Gerets, coach of Al Hilal, said. We needed a miracle and we got that at the end. I hope our fans can accept that we played bad but still won. This win is for them, Gerets said.
My compliments to Gharafa because they played a great game, he added.
In a pulsating first half, Al Gharafa ran riot with incredible pace from the first minute.
In just the second minute, the home team took the lead through Mirghani. Striker Clemerson cleverly chipped one to Mirghani standing on the edge of the box.
Mirghani, dribbled past one Hilal defender and then expertly shot past diving goalkeeper Hasan Al Otaibi who failed to stop the ball which curled towards the goal.
Three minutes later, Iraqi striker Mahmood fired a bullet from close range but his shot missed the target by a few inches. In the 8th minute, Mahmood fed Mirghani once againt but the goal-scorer missed his target from the edge of the box.
In the 12th minute, Hilals Lee Youngpyo fumbled an easy chance to score from close range as the Hilal overseas player overran the ball. A minute later, Hilals Mohammed Shalhoub also misfired from close range after dribling past the Gharafa defence line.
In the 28th minute, Hilals Ahmed Al Fraidi dribbled past a host of Gharafa defenders but his shot flew past the goalpost.
Ten minutes from the first half, Gharafas keeper Abdulla punched away a curling free-kick by Hilals Shalhoub. In the 38th minute, Gharafa doubled their lead through Mahmood who jumped high and headed home off a corner kick. Two minutes later, Gharafa made it three-nil after Al Essas curled one from a free-kick after he was brought down 35 meters from the goal-line.
Eleven minutes into the first half of extra time, Mahmood deflected the ball into the net after a pass from Fahid Al Shammari. Two minutes into the second half, Hilals Al Qahtani failed to convert an easy deflection with only goalkeeper to beat.
Three minutes from time, Hilal found their heroes in Al Qahtani and Mohammed as a tiring Gharafa defense line caved in under pressure.