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Al-Hilal defeated Al-Ittihad 2-0 in the second leg of their Asian Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday to take the tie 4-0 on aggregate and move into the last four while setting a new world record for consecutive wins.

Before kick off in the third Classico in the space of two weeks –all won by the Blues– Al-Hilal sat level with Welsh team The New Saints for the world record for straight victories. The streak reached 28 in Jeddah and means that the Blues are out in front and officially the most in-form team that the world of football has ever seen. It is a fantastic achievement from a team that is just a winning machine.

The victory also means that the four-time continental winners also booked a semi-final against Al-Ain of the United Arab Emirates who defeated Al-Nassr in a penalty shootout 24 hours earlier after a thrilling two legs that ended 4-4 on aggregate.
This game had little of that drama, excitement and roller-coaster thrills and spills. This was partly because with Al-Hilal 2-0 up from the first leg at home last week, few expected anything other than their name to go forward into the last four.

With Al-Ittihad needing to win, it was no surprise that they started brightly and put the four-time champions under pressure and pushed them back.

After 16 minutes Romarinho picked up the ball outside the right of the area, jinked to his left and then unleashed a low shot that came off the foot of the post with Mohammed Al-Owais beaten.

There wasn’t much to write back to Riyadh about for the rest of the half in terms of attempts on goal but Al-Ittihad came close just moments into the second half. Abderrazak Hamdallah slipped the ball through to Marwan Al-Sahafi who had just the goalkeeper to beat but his low shot was well-saved by Al-Owais. He made an even better save soon after, flying through the air to make a one-handed save from a long-range effort from Ahmed Al-Ghamdi.

There was always a sense that Al-Hilal would have their moment and it came on the hour. It was well-worked. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic found Yasser Al-Shahrani in the left side of a crowded area and the full-back quickly shifted the ball from left foot to right to then roll a low shot past the diving Abdullah Al-Mayouf.

From that moment on, there was surely no doubt that this tie was over and that Al-ittihad were not going to stage an Al-Nassr style comeback so the question became whether Al-Hilal could hold on for the win to set a new record.

Al-Owais spilling a cross 15 minutes from the end did not help their chances but fortunately for the goalkeeper, 16 year-old substitute Talal Haji fired the loose ball over the bar.

The game and Al-Ittihad’s Asian campaign ended with a whimper and a red card for Hamdallah who reacted badly after being fouled by Ali Al-Bulaihi. There was enough time for Malcom to burst through to make it 2-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate. That sealed a place in the last four, a 28th straight win to stay on course for a more important record –a fifth Asian title.

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