Saudi Arabian football club Al Hilal have set a world record for a top-tier team by winning their 28th straight game in a 2-0 victory over Al-Ittihad to reach the Asian Champions League semifinals.

Tuesday night’s match at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah was the second leg of the quarterfinal between the two city rivals. Al Hilal won the first leg of the quarterfinals by the same score to advance 4-0 on aggregate.

The 18-time Saudi Arabian champions broke the previously recognised record of 27 straight wins set by The New Saints in the 2016-17 season. The Welsh team took the mark from the great Ajax team inspired by Johan Cruyff in 1971-72.

“Everyone at Al Hilal is delighted to achieve world football history by winning 28 consecutive matches,” Al Hilal coach Jorge Jesus said.

“This is truly an incredible achievement and I want to thank everyone at the club for their part in this momentous winning record.”

Al Hilal’s dominating season follows the club spending about $380m on player transfers after being effectively nationalised by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth operation the Public Investment Fund.

The last time the team did not win was on September 21 in a 1-1 draw against league rivals Damac.

Al Hilal, already the champions of Asia four times, are 12 points clear atop the Saudi Pro League.

“As I have said throughout this period, however, records do not matter as much as trophies,” Jesus said.

“It is up to everyone at Al Hilal to ensure that we close out the season as Roshn Saudi League champions and meet our targets in the cup competitions. Only then can we truly celebrate.”

Second-half goals from Yasser Alshahrani and Brazilian winger Malcom sealed the win for Al Ittihad, who had striker Abderrazak Hamdallah sent off late in the game.

Al Hilal will face Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates in the semifinals in April. Al Ain eliminated Al Nassr on Monday, beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s team in a penalty shootout.

In the eastern zone, Ulsan HD moved into the last four with a 1-0 second-leg win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in an all-South Korean matchup.

After the first leg ended 1-1, Seol Young-woo scored to give Ulsan, champions in 2012 and 2020, a 2-1 aggregate victory.

Ulsan will meet either Yokohama F Marinos of Japan or China’s Shandong Taishan in the semifinals.



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