Nassr keeper Ospina may return to first staff by finish of February

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 a lot of Saudi Arabia’s greatest gamers in motion once more after the current 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 could have been disillusioned on the nationwide staff crashing out of the continental competitors, they a minimum of welcomed the return of home motion. And there was loads of that to excite observers on the Kingdom Enviornment.

League leaders Al-Hilal could not have been at their greatest on the newly constructed area, however they have been scientific when the probabilities got here, and are nonetheless clearly the staff to beat over the remainder of the season.

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

Each the Riyadh giants fielded robust groups — Cristiano Ronaldo began the match for the Yellows — nevertheless it was the staff in blue who have been on prime for a lot 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 correct to drag 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 world was nicely saved by the Nassr goalkeeper.

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

The lead was doubled after half-hour when Salem Al-Dawsari netted a wonderful aim. Fed by Malcom, the Asian participant of the yr took possession 30 meters from aim after which superior to chip an ideal shot over Al-Najjar from simply outdoors the world. Later within the recreation Al-Dawsari appeared to select 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 point out their resilience within the face of concerted strain.

The league title is extra necessary, 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 remaining third of the season.