Al Hilal beats Al Sadd on aggregate to reach Asian CL final

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal held on for a 6-5 aggregate win over Al Sadd in the Asian Champions League semifinals on Tuesday, denying Xavi Hernandez a place in the final in his first season as coach of the Qatari club.

Al Sadd won the second leg 4-2 in Riyadh, but it wasn’t enough to overturn a 4-1 home loss from the first leg.

Salem Al Dawsari opened the scoring for Al Hilal after 13 minutes to put the Saudi team 5-1 ahead on aggregate but three goals in three minutes from Akram Afif, Nam Tae-hee and Hassan Al Haydos put 2011 champion Al Sadd back in the game.

However, French striker Bafetimbi Gomis scored a second for Al Hilal in the 25th and Al Sadd couldn’t find a reply until Boualem Khoukhi made it 4-2 in injury time.

Al Hilal has never won the tournament but reached its third final in six years, where it will face either Urawa Reds of Japan or China’s Guangzhou Evergrande.