Ivory Coast run to AFCON closing ‘like a dream’ for coach Fae

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Al-Hilal defeated Al-Nassr 2-0 within the Riyadh Season Cup on Thursday, simply days earlier than the Roshn Saudi League resumes after the break for the Asian Cup. It was the primary likelihood to see lots of Saudi Arabia’s finest gamers in motion once more after the latest continental marketing campaign.

That had ended sooner than had been hoped for after a penalty shootout defeat by the hands of South Korea, however whereas Saudi Arabian followers might have been dissatisfied on the nationwide crew crashing out of the continental competitors, they no less than welcomed the return of home motion. And there was loads of that to excite observers on the Kingdom Area.

League leaders Al-Hilal might not have been at their finest on the newly constructed area, however they have been medical when the possibilities got here, and are nonetheless clearly the crew to beat over the remainder of the season.

Two targets within the first half did the injury for the leaders, who’re at the moment seven factors clear on the prime of the desk with 11 video games remaining.

Each the Riyadh giants fielded sturdy groups — Cristiano Ronaldo began the match for the Yellows — nevertheless it was the crew in blue who have been on prime for many of the 90 minutes.

The primary aim got here after 17 minutes. Saud Abdulhamid, one of many stars of the Asian Cup, superior down the precise to tug the ball again towards a crowded penalty space. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic calmly stepped ahead on the sting of the 18-yard field to brush a low shot previous the outstretched hand of Raghed Al-Najjar to make it 1-0.

Al-Hilal continued to stream ahead and Brazilian star Malcom got here near extending the lead for the 18-time champions, although his shot from the sting of the realm was properly saved by the Nassr goalkeeper.

Quickly after, his Brazilian compatriot Michael danced round defenders on the sting of the realm solely to see his closing shot blocked.

The lead was doubled after half-hour when Salem Al-Dawsari netted a stupendous aim. Fed by Malcom, the Asian participant of the 12 months took possession 30 meters from aim after which superior to chip an ideal shot over Al-Najjar from simply outdoors the realm. Later within the sport Al-Dawsari appeared to choose up an damage however nonetheless left the pitch to a standing ovation from the Al-Hilal followers.

Al-Nassr began to impose themselves as the sport wore on and Ronaldo, who had been taunted by the house followers with chants of “Messi, Messi,” grew to become extra influential.

Nonetheless, Al-Hilal’s protection held agency as they dug in to indicate their resilience within the face of concerted strain.

The league title is extra vital, although, and there’s a lot of soccer nonetheless to be performed.

Al-Hilal are nonetheless prime of the standings and have been superior, however Al-Nassr confirmed that they’ve what it takes to push their Riyadh rivals all the way in which. It guarantees to be an thrilling closing third of the season.