The Portuguese international Rúben Neves (ex-Wolverhampton), new to the Saudi team coached by Jesus, was in the starting line-up on the visit to Tripoli, as was the Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly, signed this summer from Chelsea, in an « eleven » that also had Peruvian André Carrilho, who played in Portuguese football with Sporting and Benfica.
In Tunisia, the formation led by Espírito Santo won with the winning goal being scored by the French international Karim Benzema (ex-Real Madrid), at 55, after Oussema Bouguerra advanced the hosts (26), and the Moroccan Abderrazak Hamdallah equalized nine minutes later after assisting star Benzema.
The Portuguese under-21 international Jota (ex-Celtic) started for Al Ittihad, having been replaced at half-time by the French international N’Golo Kante (ex-Chelsea).
After the first round, Al Ittihad is at the top of group A, with the same three points as Al Shorta (Iraq), who beat Sfaxien (Tunisia) by 1-0, while in group B, Al Hilal is in second place, with one point, behind Al Saad (Qatar), who drew 0 against Wydad (Morocco).
Al Nassr, from Cristiano Ronaldo and Luís Castro, will play this Friday against the Saudis from Al-Shabab, in the first round of group C, which also includes Zamalek (Egypt) – which was coached by Jesualdo Ferreira until March – and Monastir (Tunisia).