‘Al-Hilal’ Neymar ‘warned’ without scoring in ACL debut
Superstar Neymar played the full game in his Asian Champions League debut for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal, but came away with no points and a yellow card.
Al-Hilal battled back from a 1-0 deficit to draw 1-1 with Uzbekistan’s PFC Navbahur Namangan in their AFC Champions League (ACL) Group D first leg at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, thanks to a late stoppage-time equalizer.
Al Hilal dominated possession with 76.6% of the ball and 20 shots (six on target) against Namangan, who had 23.4% of the ball and just five shots on target, but were held to a draw.
Neymar, who arrived in an Al-Hilal jersey for a hefty fee, had only played in the European Champions League so far, and this was his first appearance in the ACL.
Expectations were high, but the results were less than stellar.
According to soccer-specific site Sofascore, Neymar had two shots on target and five key passes during his full-time stint, but none of them resulted in an attacking point.안전놀이터
Neymar was the highest rated player on either side of the ball by Sofascore with an 8.1 rating, but his performance fell short of expectations when he picked up a 15th-minute yellow card in the second half.
After a goalless first half, Al-Hilal conceded a goal seven minutes into the second half and were dramatically held to a draw by Mohamed Kanno’s header in stoppage time.
Another Saudi ‘rich club’, Al-Ittihad, demolished FC AGMA (Uzbekistan) despite resting 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema.
Benzema’s ACL debut was pushed back to the second leg of the group stage.
Earlier in the day, Al Ahly defeated AGMK 3-0 in their Group C opener at Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Al-Ittihad left Benzema off the roster and started N’Golo Kante and Fabinho, both new signings this season, and scored three goals in the first half to secure the win.