Al-Hilal are keeping a very low profile this week in their quest to spoil Western Sydney Wanderers FC’s AFC Champions League party.
The Saudi Arabian giants slipped into Sydney on Sunday and have been all business since, their focus solely on winning the club’s third continental title.
Coach Laurentiu Reghecampf has closed ranks around his squad, rejecting any media requests this week besides the mandatory pre-game press conference on Friday.
However one lucky fan grabbed a selfie with star striker Yasser Al-Qhatani at the airport. And it appears the club is using Lambert Park as a base and one of their players has tweeted out their hotel location.
In contrast, the Wanderers will have a media session prior to training on Tuesday morning with all media invited to watch the side being put through their paces.
It’s either an indication Al Hilal are ultra-determined to ensure nothing gets in the way of the preparation for Saturday night or a sign of just how much pressure is on the club to deliver.
The next two games – starting with the first leg at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night – will answer that question.
Al Hilal are huge favourites to win the final, in impressive form throughout the tournament and with a budget that dwarfs that of the Wanderers.
The manner of the club’s arrival shows just how big a challenge the Hyundai A-League club faces to topple arguably the Middle East’s biggest team.
The entire Al Hilal squad and support staff arrived via a private jet and were whisked through Sydney Airport away to their luxurious Sydney harbourside hotel.
They also hired a security firm to keep fans and media away from the side as they came through the arrivals section and headed to the team bus.
The club – through the help of a sponsor – also flew up to 200 fans to Australia on a chartered flight, with all expenses paid for their stay.