Sports / Soccer

Al Hilal joins Guangzhou Evergrande in AFC Champions League semis

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-09-16 10:42

Al Hilal joins Guangzhou Evergrande in AFC Champions League semis

Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal players celebrate at the end of their AFC Championship league quarter-final football match against Lekhwiya at the Lekhwiya Club Stadium in Doha, Sept 15, 2015. [Photo/CFP]

Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal were forced to battle back from a second leg deficit but did enough to snatch a 2-2 draw with Qatari champions Lekhwiya to join China's Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

Guangzhou had earlier advanced to the semi-finals after a 1-1 draw with Japan's Kashiwa Reysol at the Tianhe Sport Centre Stadium to give the four-time Chinese Super League champions a 4-2 aggregate victory.

Brazilian defender Digao scored an 87th-minute equaliser at the Abdullah bin Khalifa stadium in Doha after the home side had given themselves hope of overturning a 4-1 first leg deficit with goals from Ismail Mohammed and Chico Flores.

Midfielder Carlos Eduardo had given last year's AFC Champions League finallists a comfortable 5-1 aggregate lead in the 26th minute before they became fatigued and allowed Lekhwiya back into the tie.

Mohammed beat Al Hilal's goalkeeper Khalid Sharahili with the final kick of the first half with a strike from the edge of the area while Flores headed home Nam Tae-hee's corner with 19 minutes remaining before Digao killed off their hopes.

"It was a crucial moment when they scored 1-1 in the last second of the first half and every time in every game is difficult," Al Hilal's Greek coach Georgios Donis said.

"We gave a lot and we were tired, but we scored and we qualified for the next round."

Al Hilal will next meet the winner of Wednesday's quarter-final between Iran's Naft Tehran and Al-Ahli, of United Arab Emirates. Al-Ahli won the first leg 1-0.

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