ISL Media Team
NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Shabab FC booked their berth in the next stage of the AFC Champions League with a 6-0 humiliation of Mumbai City FC at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on early Saturday morning.
A hat-trick by Hattan Bahebri (19’, 64’, 66’), a goal each from Abdulla Al Joui (52’) and Carlos (81’), and a Mourtada Fall own goal (36’) sealed the deal for the White Lions.
In a game fiercely dominated by the Riyadh-based club, the Islanders were set to score first when Al-Shabab FC defender Ahmed Sharahili was dispossessed deep inside his own half and Raynier Fernandes tried his level best to make the net bulge, but his effort was denied by goalkeeper Fawaz Al Qarni followed by a double save to rebut Apuia’s rebound shot from six yards away.
Al Shabab FC took the lead in the 19th minute through Hattan Bahebri who blended with Nawaf Al with a brilliant one-two with Bahebri making no mistake to fire it across the line to make it 1-0 for the hosts.
Minutes before heading onto the break, in an attempt to clear Carlos Junior’s finish, the Islanders captain Mourtada Fall ended up sending the ball into his own net, doubling their lead to 2-0 right before half-time.
Marius Sumudica’s men started the second half with the same hunger and energy of the first half, and pouncing on Mumbai City FC’s defence, they found themselves through within seven minutes, from an Abdullah Al Joui finish who cut inside on the right and fired one from inside the box, adding a third on the scoreline.
Minutes later, an Al Joui run from the left rattled the Islanders’ defenders, who laid down a pass to Al Abid, who then provided the assist for a second Hattan Bahebri goal in the 64th minute.
In a quick outburst after the restart, Bahebri netted a beautiful half-volley from an Al Ghamdi pass from the right, manoeuvring around Rahul Bheke to make it 5-0.
With nine minutes left on the clock, the hat-trick hero turned provider, advancing down the right, and squaring for Junior who beat Fall for the ball, squeezing home his side’s sixth of the night.
With 13 points added in the bag and unbeaten in five games, the White Lions advance into the Round of 16, joining city rivals Al Hilal and Qatar’s Al Duhail SC.
Mumbai City FC, on the other hand, have been officially eliminated and will play for pride in their final game of the AFC Champions League against Air Force Club of Iraq.