Soccer-Al Dawsari's early goal spurs Al Hilal to record fourth Asian title


Soccer Football - Asian Champions League Final - Al Hilal v Pohang Steelers - King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudia Arabia - November 23, 2021 Al Hilal's Jang Hyun-Soo in action with Pohang Steelers' Manuel Palacios REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

(Reuters) -Nasser Al Dawsari scored the fastest goal ever in an Asian Champions League final on Tuesday as Al Hilal won a record fourth continental crown with a 2-0 victory over South Korea's Pohang Steelers in Riyadh.

Al Dawsari's 25 metre drive flew into the top corner of Lee Jun's goal with 16 seconds on the clock to break Mohamed Kallon's 16-year-old record and put the Saudis on track for a fourth title after successes in 1991, 2000 and 2019.

Moussa Marega added a second 18 minutes into the second half as the Riyadh-based club won the title for the second time in three seasons, having defeated Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds in the final two years ago.

"This success is for the group," Al Hilal captain Salman Al Faraj told SSC 7.

"A group that works and strives, a group that loves each other, a group together for a long time, and this is the result...two titles in the Asian Champions League, but we deserve it."

Al Hilal went into the final, played in front of more than 50,000 fans at the King Fahd International Stadium, as favourites and made an explosive start through Al Dawsari.

The 22-year-old Saudi Arabia international's goal broke the record set by Kallon, when the former Inter Milan forward scored in the second minute of Al Ittihad's 4-2 second leg win over Al Ain in 2005.

But Pohang, who were also looking for a fourth Asian crown after the club claimed wins in 1997, 1998 and 2009, steadied themselves and almost hit back through Sin Jin-ho, whose dipping effort struck the woodwork 12 minutes into the game.

Marega threatened without success in the 31st minute while Pohang's Kwon Wan-kyu headed into the arms of Al Hilal goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf as neither side were able to add to the scoreline before the interval.

Thirteen minutes into the second half though, Al Hilal effectively sealed the title when Marega held off the attention of Jeon Min-gwang to reach Bafetimbi Gomis' through ball and score across Lee.

Al Hilal pick up a first prize of $4 million for winning the title and will now represent Asia at the FIFA Club World Cup when it is played in the United Arab Emirates in January.

(Reporting by Michael Church and Ahmed Maher, Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Hugh Lawson)

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