Head coach Răzvan Lucescu believes Al Hilal SFC thoroughly deserved their resounding 4-1 win over Qatar’s Al Sadd SC in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.
Al Hilal found themselves behind after 15 minutes when Bafétimbi Gomis scored an own goal, but the French forward subsequently netted a goal in each half to help his side record a comfortable victory against an Al Sadd outfit who had Abdulkarim Hassan sent off in the first half.
While Lucescu admitted that Al Hilal struggled in the opening moments of the match, the Romanian tactician was left delighted by the nature of his side’s comeback.
“Our start to the match was not good and we found it very difficult,” said Lucescu at the post-match press conference.
“Al Sadd took the lead and they defended well while not giving us a chance to build our attacks.
“We didn’t play at all well in the first 20 minutes, but we managed to make a good comeback and finished the first half with a lead after scoring two goals.
“We took advantage of playing with a man more on the pitch after Abdulkarim Hassan’s red card. That is something which helped us register this big victory.
“The players showed great mental strength to achieve such a positive result and we successfully managed to achieve our target,” he concluded.
Gomis’ two goals took his season tally to nine, moving him level with Al Wahda’s Leonardo at the top of the scorers’ list in the competition.
With Al Hilal hosting the return leg in Riyadh on October 22, the Frenchman will be looking to add to his tally and take the two-time AFC Champions League runners-up to the final against either Guangzhou Evergrande or Urawa Red Diamonds.