Neymar ‘s Modest Debut as Al Hilal Ends in a Draw in Asian Champions League

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Football

Neymar had a subdued performance in his first match as a starter for Al Hilal against Navbahor from Uzbekistan. The Brazilian received a yellow card and witnessed his team draw 1-1 in a tense game held at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh during the first round of the Asian Champions League group stage. The match was broadcast on ESPN via Star+ on Monday, the 18th.

In addition to a moment of anger from Neymar, who got involved in a confrontation with an opponent, the game was remarkable for the additional time given by the referee in the second half, an astonishing 15 minutes! The goals were scored by Tabatdze for Navbahor and Al Bulayhi for Al Hilal after a move initiated by Michael.

However, Al Hilal settled for a draw. With this result, Neymar’s team shares the second position in Group D with Navbahor, both with one point. In the same group, Iran’s Nassaji Mazandaran defeated India’s Mumbai City 2-0. The top-placed teams advance to the knockout stage, along with the six best second-placed teams.

This was Neymar’s second match for Al Hilal after making his debut in a 6-1 victory over Al Riyadh in the Saudi Arabian Championship. Last Friday, he came on as a substitute and played a direct role in four goals.

In addition to Neymar, coach Jorge Jesus included forwards Michael (formerly of Flamengo) and Malcom (formerly of Corinthians) in the starting lineup against Navbahor. However, he couldn’t use all of his foreign signings at the same time due to Champions League rules, which allow only five foreign players, plus one Asian player from another country, in each match.

The next challenge for the Saudi team in the tournament will be an away match against Nassaji Mazandaran from Iran on October 3rd.

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