RIYADH — In a vibrant and carnival-like ambiance, Al Hilal left an indelible mark on the football derby against arch-rivals Al Nassr at the Kingdom Arena, securing victory in the Riyadh Season Cup with a commanding 2-0 win. Goals from Sergej Milinković-Savić and Salem Al Dawsari sealed the triumph for Al Hilal in front of thousands of passionate fans, including prominent social and sports figures, notably Turki Al Sheikh, Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia.
Despite the high stakes, Al Nassr missed out on the opportunity to claim the Riyadh Season Cup, needing either a win or a draw against Al Hilal to secure victory. Both teams had been neck and neck in the tournament standings with 3 points each, with Al Nassr edging ahead on goal difference following their impressive 6-0 victory over Inter Miami. However, Al Nassr faltered, allowing Al Hilal to emerge victorious and assert their dominance on the pitch.
The match witnessed the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr's captain, who had recovered from an injury that had sidelined him in the previous game against Inter Miami, a match which saw Al Nassr triumph 6-0 against Lionel Messi's teammates.
Al Hilal's journey in the tournament began with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Inter Miami, a team led by Messi himself.
The game's intensity was evident from the onset, with Al Hilal threatening early on in the fourth minute through Saud Abdulhamid's incisive break down the right flank. Milinković-Savić broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, capitalizing on Abdulhamid's cross to slot the ball past Al Nassr's goalkeeper, Ragid Al Najjar. Al Dawsari extended Al Hilal's lead in the 30th minute with a well-placed lob, capitalizing on a pass from Malcom.
Despite Al Hilal's dominance, Al Nassr had their chances, with Al Najjar denying Malcom and Ali Al Bulaihi having a goal disallowed for offside. Al Nassr's attempts to narrow the deficit were thwarted by Yassine Bounou's heroics in goal for Al Hilal.
As the game progressed, both teams continued to press forward, with Otavio and Michel coming close for Al Nassr and Al Hilal respectively. However, neither side could alter the scoreline, with Al Hilal emerging triumphant to lift the Riyadh Season Cup, capping off a thrilling encounter filled with moments of skill and excitement.