AFC Champions League 2017 final first leg - Urawa Red Diamonds gain crucial away draw

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The Japanese side will be the happier of the two teams after gaining an away goal in the first leg of the final...

Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds gained an all-important advantage ahead of the second leg of the AFC Champions League final 2017, after managing to hold Al Hilal to a 1-1 draw in Riyadh on Saturday. 

The Saudi Arabian team required an equaliser from Omar Khribin to ensure they did not lose at home, after Rafael Silva scored his eighth goal of the tournament in the 10th minute to send Urawa ahead temporarily. 

The crowd at the King Fahd International stadium were sent into shock as early as in the 10th minute Rafael Silva embarked on a solo run down the left flank before cutting in and firing a low strike at goal. However, defender Al Faraj blocked it on to the path of the Brazilian again who knocked it in this time around. 

AFC Champions League final - AL Hilal vs Urawa Red Diamonds

Al Hilal were dealt another blow soon enough when star striker Carlos Eduardo was taken off after suffering a muscle injury with Nawaf Al Abid coming in. The Saudi Arabians, however, regrouped well and took charge of the game by bossing possession. 

Omar Khribin, the competition's leading goalscorer, fluffed a couple of golden chances before the hour mark but made amends in the 37th minute. The Syrian controlled Al Dawsari’s miskick and finished from close range to bring the Saudi side level. 

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In the second half, Al Hilal continued their dominance and Urawa were given a blow when Rafael Silva was taken off injured. Khribin himself had numerous opportunities to take the lead for his side with Urawa defending for their lives at times. 

But, even with four minutes of added time, Al Hilal were unable to force a winner and now face an uneviable task of being forced to score in the second leg in Japan. 

 

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