Preview: Al-Hilal vs Al-Ain – predictions, team news, line-ups

Al Hilal coach Jorge Jesus before the match on March 5, 2024

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s AFC Champions League clash between Al-Hilal and Al-Ain, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Al-Hilal face a mountain to climb while they welcome Al Ain in the second leg of the AFC Champions League semi-final on Tuesday at the Kingdom Arena.

In the opening match last Wednesday, Al-Ain handed the Saudis their first defeat in the competition this season, triumphing 4-2.

Match Preview

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Al-Hilal faces missing the Champions League final for the first time since the 2020-21 season, after winning the competition in 2021-22 and finishing runners-up last year.

The Saudi team had not lost a match since losing 2-1 to Al-Nassr in the Arab Club Champions Cup final in August 2023, until losing to Al-Ain at the Hazza bin Stadium Zayed last week.

Al-Hilal have also not been eliminated from this competition at the semi-final stage since the 2015-16 season and have lifted the trophy twice since then. However, they have a huge task at home to overturn the two-goal deficit from the first leg if they are to avoid another exit at this stage.

Jorge JesusThe men head into this competition unbeaten at home in this competition, with four wins and one draw at the Kingdom Arena in the current Champions League campaign. They are also on a 17-game home winning streak, dating back to September.

The Bosses will look to press home advantage again, as they have a strong record against their Tuesday opponents at home. In six meetings between the two teams hosted by Al-Hilal, the hosts have won five times and drawn once.

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Al-Ain are on the verge of reaching the Champions League final for the first time since 2016-17, which would be only their third appearance in the final.

However, since the quarter-final second leg of the Champions League against Al-Nassr, Hernán CrespoThe Madrid team has only won two matches, losing two and drawing one. That crisis included a quarter-final elimination from the UAE President’s Cup.

Before their 4-3 defeat to Al-Nassr, the record 14-time UAE Pro League champions had not lost a Champions League match away from home this season. However, they will now need to hold on to avoid back-to-back away defeats in the competition.

The Emirati side have conceded just two goals in the first 45 minutes of this competition, and keeping the prolific Saudi side quiet for that long will be crucial for Crespo’s men.

However, the record against Al-Hilal is not encouraging, as they have conceded 12 times and scored just once in six visits to Al-Hilal, losing by at least two goals on four occasions.

AFC Al-Hilal Champions League form:

Al-Hilal form (all competitions):

AFC Al-Ain Champions League form:

Team News


Hosts remain without their signature Neymarwho suffered a cruciate ligament injury in October and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.

Muteb Al Mufarrij is also suffering from a cruciate ligament injury which is expected to keep him sidelined until the end of the campaign.

Serbian attacker Alexander Mitrovic is also out with a hamstring injury sustained in the 4-3 win over Al Shabab on March 30.

Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba missed the first leg of this confrontation and is not expected back in the Al-Ain squad for Tuesday’s clash.

Soufiane Rahimiwho became the competition’s top scorer after scoring a hat-trick in the first leg, should once again lead the line alongside Alexandre Romero.

Possible starting lineup of Al-Hilal:
Bono; Abdulhamid, Koulibaly, Albulayhi, Lodi; Neves, Milinkovic-Savic; Michael, Malcolm, Al-Dawsari; Alhamddan

Possible starting lineup of Al-Ain:
Eisa; Al-Ahbabi, Al-Hashemi, Autonne, Erik; Al Baloushi, Nader, Park, Palacios; Romero, Rahimi

We say: Al-Hilal 3-0 Al-Ain

Al-Hilal face a difficult task, having to overcome a 2-goal deficit against a fragile Al-Ain. The hosts have an excellent record when playing at home in this match and we believe they have enough quality to win this match and overturn the tie.

For data analysis of most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, please click here.

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