Trio ready for Pakhtakor test

Al Hilal have received a lift ahead of their crucial Group B showdown against Pakhtakor with Yasser Al Qahtani, Mohammed Al Shlhoub and Tareq El Taib back in training after recovering from injuries.

Libyan midfielder El Taib missed his team’s 2-0 victory in Tashkent two weeks ago because of his injury while Saudi international striker Al Qahtani and midfielder Al Shlhoub picked up knocks during last week’s 1-0 win against Al Nasr in the Saudi league.

However, all three passed medical tests during the weekend and participated in a training session on Sunday, much to the relief of the team’s Brazilian coach, Marcos Paqueta.

However, there is a question mark on the fitness of forward Mohammed Al Anbar, who was forced to leave the session after suffering a leg injury.

The team’s doctor have not yet given an indication whether he will be fit for the match at King Fahad International Stadium, which could all but seal Al Hilal’s passage into the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League for the first time.

The Riyadh giants lead Group B after their stunning win in Uzbekistan, courtesy of second-half goals by Omar Al Ghamdi and Rodrigo, and will move four points clear of Pakhtakor and six ahead of Al Kuwait if they repeat their victory on home soil.

Having seen his side fail to get past the group stage in all three of their previous appearances in the AFC Champions League, Al Shlhoub is determined not to see them falter again.

"I am ready for the match. We have worked for two weeks to prepare for the game and we are definitely targeting a win on Wednesday," said the Saudi international.

“We had a disappointing draw against Al Kuwait in our previous AFC Champions League game but that does not mean that we don’t play well at home."

Pakhtakor have their backs to the wall after losing at home to the Saudi giants and will be determined to avoid a defeat which would end their AFC Champions League hopes for another season.

However, even a draw might not be enough for the Uzbek side with only one game remaining for both sides in the three-team group after Wednesday.

“Pakhtakor will be looking for revenge but we are determined to repeat our victory against them,“ said Al Hilal defender Khalid Al Angrie.

Pakhtakor defeated Navbakhor 2-0 last Friday with early goals by Server Djeparov and Anvar Soliev and arrived to Riyadh on Monday morning to prepare for their crunch game.

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