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Saudi: Al Hilal Clinches King Cup In Intense Penalty Shootout And Dramatic Final

In a thrilling match held at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Al Hilal emerged victorious over their arch-rivals Al Nassr to claim the King Cup.

The match was a dramatic encounter with both teams receiving three red cards each and ending 1-1 after regular and extra time. Al Hilal’s superiority was confirmed through penalties, with goalkeeper Bono’s heroics leading them to victory.

Al Hilal initially took the lead through Aleksandar Mitrović, but Al Nassr equalized through Ayman Yahya just as the match seemed destined for a Hilal victory, scoring in the 87th minute and sending the game to extra time.

Goalkeeper Bono played a crucial role for Al Hilal, saving two penalty kicks and making several key saves during the match, keeping his team in the competition despite being numerically disadvantaged.

Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus made minimal changes to Al Hilal’s lineup, only replacing the suspended Serbian Sergej Milinković-Savić with captain Salman Al-Faraj. The lineup included Bono in goal, with Lodi, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Koulibaly, and Saud Abdulhamid in defense. Rúben Neves, Al-Faraj, Salem Al-Dawsari, Malcom, and Michael filled the midfield, with Mitrović leading the attack.

Meanwhile, Al Nassr’s coach, compatriot Luis Castro, substituted Ali Lajami for the suspended Spanish player Laporte. The lineup featured Ospina in goal, with a defense of Sultan Al-Ghannam, Abdullah Al-Amri, Ali Lajami, and Alex Telles. The midfield included Brozović, Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Otávio, Ayman Yahya, and Sadio Mane, with Cristiano Ronaldo at the forefront.

Al Hilal did not give their traditional rivals Al Nassr much breathing room, taking an early lead through Serbian striker Mitrović, who converted a perfect cross from Malcom in the seventh minute.

Al Nassr, however, did not give up and dominated large parts of the first half, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s standout shot being brilliantly saved by Bono.

In the second half, Jesus substituted Brazilian Lodi with Yasser Al-Shahrani.

Cristiano Ronaldo almost scored for Al Nassr with a perfect bicycle kick that hit the post, despite a late offside call.

Al Nassr suffered a setback when their goalkeeper David Ospina received a red card in the 56th minute for handling the ball outside the box during a breakaway attack by Malcom.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Al Nassr continued to press for an equalizer. Al Hilal’s defense began to retreat without much offensive impact.

Parity was restored in the 87th minute when Al Hilal’s defender Ali Al-Bulayhi was sent off for striking an Al Nassr player. A minute later, Ayman Yahya equalized for Al Nassr with a brilliant header.

As the match seemed evenly poised, Al Hilal received another blow when central defender Koulibaly was red-carded, leaving them with a significant numerical disadvantage against a rejuvenated Al Nassr.

The match went to extra time without any additional goals, and Al Hilal triumphed in the penalty shootout.


Saudi Gazette

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