There were incredible scenes at the Dubai Police Officers Club Saturday night as Al Hilal posted a remarkable 4-3 extra-time victory over Real Madrid to set up a dream final against Dortmund in Sunday’s Hamdan bin Mohammed 6th International Football Championship U17.
Trailing Madrid 2-3 until the 89th minute, Hilal’s Salem Al Saleem scored a last-gasp equaliser before sealing himself a brace in extra time to send the Saudi side into the championship match.
In the earlier semi-final, Dortmund came from behind to beat 10-man Internacional 2-1, thanks to an 87th-minute winner from Ozkan Terzioglu.
Madrid twice edged ahead in the opening half through Inaki Rodriguez and Joaquin Martinez but both times were pegged back thanks to equalisers from Ali Al Assaf and Khalid Al Jubaya, as the teams entered the break locked at 2-2.
A second goal from Rodriguez in the 67th minute appeared to be enough to hand victory to the Spanish giants but substitute Al Saleem had other ideas, his first goal sending the semi-final into extra-time and his 94th minute effort completing an unforgettable victory for the Riyadh-based club.
“We put in a huge effort and we’re now eyeing the cup,” said a breathless Al Saleem after the win.
“Of course I am really happy for scoring twice but our happiness will not be complete without winning the championship in the end.”
Dortmund coach Christian Fluthmann hailed his side’s mental strength and said it made all the difference in their triumph over Internacional.
The Brazilians went ahead in the first-half thanks to an Emerson Machado strike before going down to 10 men in the 58th minute with Douglas Bohm receiving a straight red for elbowing an opponent. Torge Witteborg got the equaliser for Dortmund in the 71st minute before Ozkan Terzioglu sealed the deal for the Germans three minutes from time.
“I think we were mentally strong. We were down 1-0 for a long time but the whole time, the team believed they could come back and win, and I think that was the key,” said Fluthmann.
Machado opened the scoring for Internacional just before the hour mark (29’) with a brilliant solo effort, cutting through the box from the right and sending a curling effort past the Dortmund ‘keeper Michele Cordi.
The Brazilian side outplayed the Germans throughout the opening half, with their own goalkeeper Mateus Raffler untested.
Internacional captain Bohm was then sent off 13 minutes into the second period. In the aftermath, BVB’s Marco Ehmann pushed Carlos Moura to the ground while play was stopped, both players receiving yellow cards for the altercation.
Dortmund eventually found the leveller thanks to a superb header from Torge Witteborg.
They went on to get the winner three minutes from time thanks to a clever chip from Ozkan Terzioglu that beat an advancing Raffler.
The referee gave close to nine minutes of injury time and Internacional almost equalised through a Bernardo Flores free kick in the dying moments but Dortmund held on to emerge victorious.
Internacional coach Sandro Resende rued his side’s numerous missed opportunities and questioned the referee’s decisions.
“Borussia are a good team but we had so many missed chances. I don’t think the referee was fair. Red card, yellow cards… no I think it was too much,” said Resende.