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Al-Hilal beat Persepolis 2-0 to clinch AFC Champions League title

8 April: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal beat Iran’s Persepolis to win AFC Champions League Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal became the champions of Asia for the third time after defeating Iran’s Persepolis 2-0 in the final of the AFC Champions League on Saturday.

The Riyadh-based club scored twice in the first half through Brazilian striker Matheus Pereira and Italian midfielder Sebastian Giovinco to seal their first continental title since 2000. Al-Hilal dominated the match from the start and created several chances to break the deadlock.

They finally found the net in the 26th minute when Pereira headed in a cross from Yasser Al-Shahrani. Persepolis tried to respond but struggled to create clear-cut opportunities against Al-Hilal’s solid defense.

The Iranian side also had to deal with the absence of their captain and top scorer Mehdi Abdi, who was suspended for the final. Al-Hilal doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when Giovinco curled a superb free-kick into the top corner, leaving Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak helpless.

The second half saw more of the same as Al-Hilal controlled the game and prevented Persepolis from mounting a comeback. The Saudi side could have added more goals but Lak made some fine saves to keep the scoreline respectable. The final whistle sparked wild celebrations among Al-Hilal’s players and staff, who lifted the trophy in front of their jubilant fans at King Fahd International Stadium.

Al-Hilal’s coach Leonardo Jardim praised his team for their performance and dedication throughout the tournament. “I’m very happy and proud of this achievement.

We worked hard for this moment and we deserved it. We played with intensity, quality and intelligence. We showed that we are the best team in Asia,” he said. Persepolis’ coach Yahya Golmohammadi congratulated Al-Hilal for their victory and said his team did their best despite the difficulties they faced.

“We have to accept the result and respect our opponents. They were better than us today and they deserved to win. We had some problems before and during the game but we tried to overcome them. We are proud of our players and our fans for their support,” he said.

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