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AFC Champions League: Al Ittihad 1 Al Ahli 0
Oct 22, 2012 11:50 PM GMT
A second-half Naif Hazazi strike led Al Ittihad to 1-0 win over Al Ahli in the first leg of their AFC Champions League semi-final tie.
Hazai netted his eighth goal of the tournament in the 67th minute of the match in Jeddah on Monday to give the Saudi hosts a slender advantage ahead of next week's second leg.
Al Ittihad always looked the more ominous in front of goal and tested Al Ahli goalkeeper Abdullah Al Maiouf through captain Mohammad Noor, before Osama Al Harbi saw his header cleared off the line by Kamel Al Mor.
Victor Simoes posed a threat at the other end and almost gave Al Ahli a surprise lead but Al Ittihad custodian Mabrouk Zayed produced a sharp save to deny the visitors as the half drew to a close.
Two-time Asian champions Al Ittihad reasserted their dominance after the interval and the breakthrough seemed inevitable. It came when Saudi international Hazazi struck his shot past Al Maiouf from six yards out, the goal standing despite the ball hitting the striker's arm in the lead up.
The teams return to Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium, where they both play their home matches, in nine days time, with the winner of the tie to face either Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor or South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai in the final on November 10.