Al Hilal vs Navbahor live score, result, updates, highlights as Neymar makes AFC Champions League debut

Neymar could finally make his full Al Hilal debut as the Saudi club begins AFC Champions League group stage play against Uzbekistan side Navbahor Namangan.

After a longer wait than usual thanks to an ankle injury, Neymar made his Al Hilal debut on Friday, coming off the bench to play 26 minutes and picked up an assist in a 6-1 demolition of Al Riyadh.

His introduction marked the completion of Al Hilal’s incredible summer transfer window, which brought in the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Malcom, Ruben Neves, Sergej Milnikovic-Savic, and Yassine Bounou all from big European clubs.

They get continental play started against Navbahor who sit second in their league table through 17 matches, seven points back of leaders Pakhtakor who also appear in this competition alongside another Saudi club, Al Fayha, in their group.

Unlike the UEFA Champions League, the group stage of the Asian competition only sees the top spot in each group guaranteed to reach the knockout round, while the second-place finisher must rank in the top six amongst runners-up to advance, meaning points are extremely valuable in every group match.

MORE: Watch this match and all other AFC Champions League games in the USA on Paramount+

The Sporting News is following the Al Hilal vs. Navbahor Namangan match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.

Al Hilal vs Navbahor live score

  Score (1H) Goal scorers
Al Hilal 0
Navbahor 0

Starting lineups:

Al Hilal (4-2-3-1, right to left): 21. Al Owais (GK) — 66. Abdulhamid, 87. Tambakti, 5. Al Bulayhi, 12. Al Shahrani — 8. Neves, 7. Al Faraj — 96. Michael, 77. Malcom, 10. Neymar — 9. Mitrovic

Navbahor (3-4-3, right to left): 1. Yusupov (GK) — 13. Ivanovic, 5. Milovic, 6. Yuldoshev — 14. Boltaboev, 17. Ismoilov, 10. Iskanderov, 7. Urunov  — 22. Golban, 91. Tabatadze, 77. Sobirjonov.

MORE: A full overview of all 2023/24 AFC Champions League fixtures, schedule, results, and more

Al Hilal vs Navbahor live updates, highlights, commentary

Al Hilal vs Navbahor: First Half

26th min: Chance, Al Hilal! The first truly dangerous attempt on goal of the match sees Aleksandar Mitrovic have a go in some space from a tight angle, but it’s deflected well wide of the posts and goes out for a corner. Neymar’s delivery is headed clear.

23rd min: There’s a real problem for Navbahor as Ibrokhim Yuldoshev is in real pain, holding his arm after a challenge. He looks to be in real pain, and then suddenly pops back up and manages to recover enough to take a free-kick. It’s a true miracle.

19th min: Al Hilal earn a corner after Neymar runs a counter-attack. The Brazilian trudges over to take, and the goalkeeper comes to punch. He gets his mits to the ball, but also manages to pummel Aleksandar Mitrovic in the process.

Eventually, Neymar recycles and earns another corner. This one’s taken short and is wasted.

17th min: Navbahor have their best moment as the goalkeeper Utkir Yusupov springs an attack straight from the punt as he drives one over the midway line for Toma Tabatdze, but after a long delay while dribbling against Hassan Tambakti, the offside flag goes up. Replay shows it was very tight, not only with the last defender but also with Tabatdze just barely leaning into the attacking half.

13th min: It’s back to the fouling as the teams trade bad tackles and poor 50/50 duels. Navbahor have defended well but hardly have seen any possession in the attacking half.

Just like that, Al Hilal give it away in their own half but manage to get it back after the visitors look to dribble forward through the middle.

8th min: This is better from Al Hilal, who are beginning to build into the match and have another corner as Michael bursts down the right wing and is only dispossessed at the last moment by his defender who pokes the ball over the end line.

It’s Ruben Neves who will take this time from the opposite flag, but before he can do so the referee has to sort out some nonsense in the penalty area as Neymar and Ibrokhim Yuldoshev both end up on the deck. Replay shows it’s all a bit ridiculous, as Yuldoshev flopped and ended up tripping Neymar in the process.

The eventual delivery is again cleared.

4th min: Al Hilal earn a corner, the first of the game, which Neymar delivers, but it’s punched out by the Navbahor goalkeeper.

In truth, the early stages of this match have featured more physicality than attacking impetus, as both teams have looked to unsettle the other.

Kickoff: The match is under way from Riyadh! Three points here are essential for Al Hilal, after the other match in Group D play saw the visiting team pick up a victory. Remember, only the group winner is guaranteed to advance to the Round of 16, while the runner-up must sweat out the second-place table!

Al Hilal fans made sure to remind their opponents today of their success in this competition, having won the AFC Champions League on eight different occasions, the last coming two years ago.

Al Hilal vs Navbahor: Pre-match commentary, analysis, stats, and more

15 mins to kick: In the other Group D match earlier today, Iranian club Nassaji Mazandaran won on the road at Mumbai City by a 2-0 score to pick up three huge points early on. The visitors got one goal in each half, with 23-year-old Iranian striker Mohammad Azadi, one of the club’s most valuable players, bagging the second.

You can get a full overview of all the group stage fixtures, results, and standings here.

30 mins to kick: Over in Iran, Al Hilal’s Saudi rivals Al Nassr are playing a road group stage match against Persepolis tomorrow. The scenes in Tehran are incredible, as fans mob the Al Nassr bus in the streets after arriving the day before their match.

It’s likely that Neymar and Al Hilal see similar treatment when they travel for a road game themselves in Iran, plus densely populated India.

45 mins to kick: The AFC Champions League’s roster rules have made headlines in the leadup to the start of the competition, as it has caused problems for the Saudi clubs in particular, who are not able to roster their new star players that arrived en masse this summer.

According to the competition’s official regulations, rosters may only include five players from outside the club’s home nation, while a sixth is allowed if they also hold the nationality of the home nation.

That’s played out here today goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, and midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic do not appear in the squad at all for Al Hilal. Their five internationals registered are Neymar (Brazil), Malcom (Brazil), Michael (Brazil), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), and Ruben Neves (Portugal).

1 hour to kickoff: Lineups are in and it is confirmed that Neymar will make his first start for Al Hilal, installed into the starting lineup alongside a few of the team’s other stars, while others are left on the sidelines due to roster limitations.

1 hour 15 mins to kick: The stakes for this AFC Champions League match are a bit higher than fans of the UEFA continental tournament are used to. While in Europe, the top two teams advance automatically to the knockout round, that’s not necessarily the case here.

The group winner qualifies directly to the knockout stage, but the second-place finisher must be amongst the top six in the runners-up table to reach the Round of 16. Points are even more valuable in each group match with the knowledge that any slip could result in a failure to advance.

Because of that, the AFC Champions League has instituted VAR for the group stage for the first time in the competition’s history.

1 hour 30 mins to kickoff: American fans tuning in to the AFC Champions League may recognise a few of the names in the Navbahor Namangan lineup today, as goalkeeper Uktir Yusupov and midfielder Oston Urunov both started the Uzbekistan friendly against the United States 11 days ago.

Yusupov was forced into three saves as the United States won 3-0, while Urunov struggled in a No. 10 role, overshadowed in the attacking third by full-back Khojiakbar Alijonov who plays for rival Uzbekistan club Pakhtakor Tashkent.

Al Hilal vs Navbahor lineups & team news

After making his debut for Al Hilal off the bench on Friday, Neymar is slotted straight into the starting XI for their first Champions League clash. He played significant minutes for Brazil over the international break, and now looks to hit the ground running with his new club.

New signings Malcom and Ruben Neves have been regular starters since arriving, and they get the nod here. Likewise with Aleksandar Mitrovic despite supposedly dealing with a foot injury for some time at Fulham.

However, Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have been harshly left off the roster due to the limits on foreign players in the AFC Champions League.

Al Hilal confirmed starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Al Owais (GK) — Abdulhamid, Tambakti, Al Bulayhi, Al Shahrani — Neves, Al Faraj — Michael, Malcom, Neymar — Mitrovic

Al Hilal subs (11): Al Wutaian (GK), Al Hamddan, Abu Rasen, Al Dawsari, Kanno, Al Burayk, Al Qahtani, Jahfali, Mufarrij, Al Dawsari, Al Shehri.

For Navbahor this will be their first game since the international break and there are no known injuries or suspensions to worry about, although the absence of midfielder Jovan Djokic from the squad entirely begs a few questions.

Goalkeeper Uktir Yusupov and midfielder Oston Urunov were heavily involved with the Uzbekistan national team during the September international break in friendlies against CONCACAF sides United States and Mexico, while Jamshid Iskanderov also appeared briefly off the bench.

Navbahor confirmed starting lineup (3-4-3): Yusupov (GK) — Ivanovic, Milovic, Yuldoshev — Boltaboev, Ismoilov, Iskanderov, Urunov  — Golban, Tabatadze, Sobirjonov.

Navbahor subs (10): Nesterov (GK), Akhmedov, Khashimov, Olimzhonov, Abdumannopov, Buriev, Cermelj, Muminov, Jurabekkov, Abdukholiqov.

How to watch Al Hilal vs Navbahor

MORE: How to watch AFC Champions League in the United States and around the world​​​​​​

  TV channel Streaming
USA  — Paramount+
Canada  —  —
UK  —  —
Australia  — Paramount +
India  — FanCode
Hong Kong  — M Plus Live
Malaysia Astro SuperSport 2 Sooka, Astro Go
Singapore  —  —
New Zealand  —  —

MORE: How to watch Saudi Pro League in USA | How to watch in UK

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