A second-half goal from Andre Carrillo gave Al Hilal a 1-0 win over Urawa Reds in the first leg of the Asian Champions League final in Riyadh on Saturday.
The Peruvian forward headed home on the hour to put the Saudi Arabian team, which lost in the 2017 final against the same Japanese opposition, in sight of a first Champions League title.
Al Hilal had gone close on a number of occasions in the first half.
Brazilian striker Giovinco was denied by a flying fingertip save from stand-in goalkeeper Haruki Fukushima and then by a goalline clearance from Takuya Aoki.
Fukushima was at fault for Al Hilal's goal, however, misjudging a right-wing cross to leave Carrillo free to break the deadlock.
Urawa, which also won the competition in 2007 and is looking to become the first team to lift the trophy three times, pushed forward but was unable to level.
Al Hilal also had a second goal ruled out for offside.
The second leg will take place at Urawa's Saitama Stadium on Nov. 24.
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