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Al Ain Inches Closer to AFC Champions League Final with 4-2 Win Over Al Hilal

Al Ain edged closer to the AFC Champions League Final with a convincing 4-2 win over Saudi's Al Hilal in Wednesday's semifinal first leg at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. The home side took command of the game early, with Soufiane Rahimi leading the charge by netting a hat-trick that included two penalties.

The game kicked off with intensity as Al Ain’s Soufiane Rahimi made an immediate impact, scoring the opener just 6 minutes into the match. The momentum continued as the Moroccan winger doubled the lead with a penalty at the 26-minute mark. Not stopping there, Rahimi completed his hat-trick with another penalty before the break, putting Al Ain up by three goals.

Al Hilal initiated a comeback early in the second half when Malcom de Oliveira found the net in the 49th minute, making it 3-1. However, Al Ain quickly responded with Kaku converting a fourth penalty in the 56th minute to extend their lead further.

Salem Al-Dawsari gave Al Hilal a glimmer of hope with his goal in the 78th minute, but it was not enough to mount a comeback. The match concluded with Al Ain leading 4-2, giving them a significant advantage as they head into the second leg of the semifinals.

The return leg is scheduled for April 23rd at the Kingdom Arena, where Al Hilal will host Al Ain. With a two-goal deficit to overturn, Al Hilal faces a challenging task against an Al Ain team eager to finalize their spot in the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League Final.

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