Two Serbian players contributed four of the six goals – Aleksander Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – although the creation was equally split between Mohamed Al Burayk and Saud Abdulhamid for the first four goals, ensuring a superb shift for the two-time AFC Champions League winners.
Jorge Jesus’ men wasted no time in opening the scoring in the fifth minute, when the Mumbai City midfield lost the ball to Mohamed Kanno, who got his side going down the left flank with Al Burayk eventually finding space to cross to the unmarked Mitrovic, the Serbian only needing to tap in.
The Riyadh-based side looked to have doubled the score when Salem Al Dawsari dribbled his way through the defence, and just after he reached the byline made a turn and lashed home to the defenders’ shock, only for VAR to overturn the goal because the ball had already gone out.
Against the run of play, Des Buckingham’s men managed an opening where Lalengmawia Ralte broke through the defence, dribbled past Ali Al Bulayhi and thrust a shot goalwards from inside the area, only for the well positioned Mohamed Al Owais to punch it away.
Just before half-time, Mitrovic spotted the Mumbai City keeper off his line and attempted an audacious strike from 60 yards out, but his effort was quickly tracked and Phurba Lechenpa caught the ball comfortably.
The second half opened up with a slew of Al Hilal chances, where all of Mitrovic, Kanno, Malcolm and Al Dawsari missed chances up until the hour mark, before the Indian side missed a golden chance to equalise through Rostyn Griffiths, who headed narrowly wide from Greg Stewart’s free-kick.
With 67 minutes on the clock, the Islanders eventually succumbed to the pressure, with Al Burayk again combining from the left flank with the clinical Mitrovic, another cross headed home by the Serbian.
Just eight minutes later, Savic ensured he had a scoring AFC Champions League debut when he rose highest to meet Saud Abdulhamid’s cross from the right flank.
Mitrovic sealed his hat-trick at 80 minutes of play in extravagant style, when Abdulhamid received the ball inside the area and spotted the Serbian striker yet again unmarked, chipping the ball inwards leaving the former Fulham striker to attempt an overhead kick that resulted in an astonishing goal to make it 4-0.
Two minutes later, Mitrovic turned creator for the man who provided him with two assists – Al Burayk – and squared him up inside the area, leaving the Saudi full-back the task of striking home and he made no mistake, adding his side’s fifth of the night.
Abdulelah Al Malki rounded off the night with a beautiful strike from outside the area, a lathered shot that smashed against the post and into the goal to match the exquisite showing Al Hilal put on in the second half.
Mumbai City FC will play hosts to Al Hilal in two weeks at the DY Patil Stadium, with a win vital to the Indian side’s already slim chances of progressing to the knockout rounds.