Al Shabab cruised to the AFC Champions League 2022 Round of 16 with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Mumbai City FC on Matchday Five of Group B at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium on Friday.
The Saudi side dominated throughout, but it was Mumbai City who looked set to score first when Al Shabab defender Ahmed Sharahili was dispossessed deep inside his own half and Raynier Fernandes fired an effort from the edge of the area that was saved by goalkeeper Fawaz Al Qarni who needed to make a second heroic save to deny Lalengmawia Ralte who pounced on the rebound from six yards out.
Al Shabab took the lead in the 19th minute when former Al Hilal duo Nawaf Al and Hattan Bahebri combined with the club captain feeding his teammate with a fine through pass that Bahebri finished with aplomb from inside the box.
An unfortunate moment for Mumbai City captain Mourtada Fall allowed Al Shabab to double their lead 10 minutes before the break. The Senegalese defender desperately attempted to clear Carlos Junior’s finish from the goal line but ended up sending it into the roof of the net.
Coach Marius Sumudica’s men started the second half with the same drive of the first, and within seven minutes, they had extended their lead through Abdullah Al Joui who latched on to Muteb Al Harbi’s pass down the left and cut inside on his right before applying the finish from inside the area.
Another Al Joui run from the left saw him dance around the Islanders’ defenders and find Al Abid who fed Bahebri inside the box and the latter added his second of the night in the 64th minute.
A mere minute later, Bahebri completed his hat-trick with the pick of the goals, controlling Khalid Al Ghamdi’s pass from the right, maneuvering around Rahul Bheke before striking on the half-volley to make it 5-0.
With nine minutes left on the clock, the hat-trick hero turned provider, advancing down the right and squaring for Junior who beat Fall for the ball, squeezing home his side’s sixth of the night.
Unbeaten in five and with 13 points to their name, Al Shabab march into the next round, joining city rivals Al Hilal and Qatar’s Al Duhail SC in the Round of 16.
They conclude their group stage on Tuesday against Al Jazira, while Mumbai City have been officially eliminated and will look to improve their place on the table when they face Air Force Club on Matchday Six.
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