SMA NEWS – RIYADH
In a carnival-like atmosphere, Al Hilal made its mark in the football derby against its rival Al Nassr at the Kingdom Arena, clinching the title of the Riyadh Season Cup with a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from Sergej Milinković-Savić and Salem Al Dawsari. The match was attended by thousands of fans, including social and sports figures, led by Turki Al Sheikh, the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia.
Al Nassr had two opportunities to win the Riyadh Season Cup by either defeating Al Hilal or drawing with them, as they were tied at the top of the tournament standings with 3 points each, with Al Nasr leading on goal difference following a 6-0 victory over Inter Miami. However, they missed this opportunity, leaving the spoils to Al Hilal, which showcased its strength throughout the 90 minutes.
The match saw the participation of Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr’s captain, after recovering from an injury that had sidelined him from the game against Inter Miami, which Al Nassr won 6-0 against Lionel Messi’s teammates.
Al Hilal began its tournament campaign with a 4-3 win over Inter Miami, led by Messi.
Al Hilal first threatened in the fourth minute after a break by Saud Abdulhamid on the right flank, who then sent a low cross that strangely passed everyone to reach Salem Al Dawsari, who sent another cross out of play.
Sergej Milinković-Savić opened the scoring for Al Hilal in the 18th minute after a cross from Abdulhamid found the Serbian player, who shot a low ball past goalkeeper Ragid Al Najjar.
Al Najjar then saved a clear chance for Al Hilal a minute later by blocking a shot from Malcom in a one-on-one situation.
Salem Al Dawsari doubled the score for Al Hilal after 30 minutes of play when he received a pass from Malcom and shot a lob exploiting the goalkeeper’s advanced position to find the net.
Malcom thought he had scored a third goal in the 41st minute before it was disallowed for offside.
Yassine Bounou, Al Hilal’s goalkeeper, denied Al Nassr a chance to narrow the gap by blocking a strong shot from inside the penalty area by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Two minutes into the second half, Ali Al Bulaihi scored for Al Hilal from close range before it was disallowed for offside.
Otavio had a chance to reduce the deficit for Al Nassr in the 58th minute after a rebound from Bounou’s block of Sadio Mané’s substitute shot, only for the Portuguese to send a bicycle kick over the bar.
Michel, Al Hilal’s player, launched a powerful shot in the 72nd minute from the right side of the penalty area, which the goalkeeper saved with difficulty.
Al Hilal continued to threaten Al Nassr’s goal with a powerful shot by substitute Mohamed Kanno in the 82nd minute, but Al Nassr’s goalkeeper stood firm.
Alexander Mitrovic’s powerful shot went over the bar a minute later.
Anderson Talisca, Al Nassr player, fired a powerful shot from a free kick three minutes before the end of regular time, but it went over the bar.