Persepolis 2 Al Hilal 2 (2-6 agg): Kharbin at the double as Al Hilal reach final
Al Hilal booked their place in the AFC Champions League final as Omar Kharbin scored twice in a 2-2 draw away to Persepolis that secured a 6-2 aggregate triumph.
After bagging a hat-trick in the first leg of the semi-final, Kharbin proved the scourge of Persepolis once again, his brace ruining the home side's unlikely comeback attempts as they looked to overturn a 4-0 loss in the previous meeting.
Godwin Mensha found the net twice for the Persian Gulf Pro League side, who were appearing in the last four of the competition for the first time in their history.
The Nigerian forward broke the deadlock with a well-directed header in the 16th minute, nodding home Vahid Amiri's cross from the right wing to give Persepolis a glimmer of hope.
However, after Salman Al Faraj was fouled inside the area, Kharbin drew Al Hilal level from the spot. The Syria international's cheeky Panenka penalty made it 1-1 after 30 minutes and restored his side's four-goal aggregate cushion.
While Mensha struck again after the break, angling a low, left-footed strike beyond goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf, the low-key celebrations showed Persepolis realised their impressive run in the tournament was coming to an end.
Kharbin even denied the home side victory on the day with a second equaliser in the 76th minute, swivelling inside the box to make it 2-2 with a left-footed drive.
Al-Hilal will now face either Urawa Red Diamonds or Shanghai SIPG in the final. Their tie is level at 1-1 after the first leg, with the return fixture taking place in Saitama on Wednesday.