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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Bafetimbi Gomis says “everything is possible” for Al Hilal after he fired the Saudi Arabian side to a Fifa Club World Cup semi-final against Flamengo.
The French striker, top scorer in this year’s Asian Champions League, came off the bench in Saturday’s second-round clash with Esperance de Tunis in Doha to grab the only goal of the game.
It took Gomis only nine minutes to notch the winner, the forward receiving Andre Carrillo’s ball over the top with 17 minutes remaining, before flicking it over an Esperance defender and volleying home.
The goal gave Hilal victory on their tournament debut, and comes weeks after the Riyadh club sealed a first Champions League crown in 19 years.
For Gomis, it proved he is well on the way to recovery from injury - he still wears a cast on his right wrist having had surgery in Dubai two weeks ago.
“It was a good team effort,” Gomis said. “I am happy I helped my team. All the players worked well; we played a very good game. I am happy I scored that goal.
“I am very happy because I worked a lot to come back to that level. I had surgery and it took me time to come back. So I am very happy.”
Hilal now take on Flamengo on Tuesday, in a match that pits them against former manager Jorge Jesus. Since leaving Riyadh, the Portuguese has enjoyed sustained success with the Brazilian club, leading his new side to the domestic title as well as a first Copa Libertadores in 37 years.
“It will be a good game between two big teams,” Gomis said. “Flamengo have many qualities and a great coach. We don’t know this team very well. Before having the opportunity to play against Flamengo, we needed to win against ES Tunis. We did it.
"Now, we hope we can play a good game and win against Flamengo. Everything is possible in football. We also have our qualities.”
Should Hilal come through that, they would most likely face Liverpool in next weekend's final. The European champions, who currently top the Premier League, meet Mexico’s Monterrey in their semi-final on Wednesday.
However, Hilal defender Ali Al Bulaihi has warned against thinking too far ahead.
“We should now turn the page on the Esperance match and focus on the next game,” he told Fifa.com. “Flamengo are South American champions and they are obviously very strong. Their coach Jesus is also very good. We respect all our opponents, but we go into the game determined to win.
“It’s a good omen to win our first game. We’re confident we will make the final. We are aiming for the title, but we will take one game at a time. We got an important win today, and we also want to beat Flamengo. Only then we will think of the final.”
Updated: December 15, 2019 10:19 AM
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