DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Anderson Talisca's hat trick gave Al-Nassr a 3-2 win over Al-Duhail in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday with Philippe Coutinho scoring both goals for the Qatari team.
The victory puts the Saudi Arabian team, which rested Cristiano Ronaldo, in control of Group E with four wins from four and needing just a point from the two remaining games to reach knockout stage. Al-Duhail was eliminated.
Coutinho, the former Liverpool and Barcelona star who joined Al-Duhail on loan in September, put the team ahead after eight minutes. Talisca leveled after 27 minutes and then added a second ten minutes later.
Talisca completed his hat trick just after the hour to put Al-Nassr, still searching for a first continental championship, 3-1 ahead. Coutinho converted a late penalty.
On Monday, Saudi Arabian title-holder Al-Ittihad lost 2-0 to Al Quwa Al Jawiya of Iraq. Despite the defeat, Al-Ittihad is still atop Group C with nine points from four games, two above Iranian team Sepahan, which routed AGMK of Uzbekistan 9-0.
Four-time winner Al-Hilal is without the injured Neymar but Aleksandar Mitrovic has been in fine form. The Serbian striker scored the second in a 2-0 win at Mumbai City, his 16th goal for the Saudi Arabian team in 16 games since joining from the English Premier League club Fulham. Brazilian forward Michael opened the scoring as Al-Hilal stayed on top of Group D.
The tournament is divided into two geographic halves until the final. In the eastern zone, former Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini scored a late goal to seal Shandong Taishan’s 2-0 win at Incheon United of South Korea to put the Chinese team level atop Group G with Japanese champion Yokohama F. Marinos who won 3-0 over Kaya-Iloilo of the Philippines.
In Group I, Kawasaki Frontale of Japan maintained its perfect record with a fourth straight win, defeating Thailand’s BG Pathum United 4-2. Two-time winner Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i of South Korea stays second despite a 2-1 loss at Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia.
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