Al Hilal begin bid for silver double
By UNUS ALLADIN
SAUDI Arabian club Al Hilal begin their quest for a unique double today.
They are aiming to become the first Asian club to hold the continent's two club trophies in the same year by winning this year's Asian Club Championship, scheduled for the Hong Kong Stadium on April 3 and 5, and the Asian Cup Winners' Championship the following week - at a venue yet to be decided.
The Saudi club have already earned the rare distinction of winning both the Asian Club Championship (1991) and the Asian Cup Winners Championship (1996).
They are also looking to join a select band of clubs that have been Asian champions twice.
The road to the Asian Club Championship title starts today when they kick off their campaign against Piruzi of Iran. But Al Hilal will be at a disadvantage as half their usual starting lineup are due to play for Saudi Arabia in a World Cup warm up match against Germany today.
The day's other game will see hosts Al Ansar face Novbakhor of Uzbekistan, the dark horses of the round robin section.
Last week, Pohang Steelers of South Korea and Dalian of China qualified for the semi-finals from the Eastern zone quarter-finals, held at Ningbo in China.