• Mon. Sep 25th, 2023


    Allways With You

    Al-Hilal stages thrilling comeback to edge Al-Ittihad in Saudi classic


    Sep 2, 2023

    Saudi Gazette report

    JEDDAH — In a highly anticipated classic matchup, Al-Hilal emerged victorious over Al-Ittihad, dealing their rivals their first defeat of the season and temporarily taking the top spot in the Saudi Professional League. The final score of the thrilling encounter was 4-3, with both teams showcasing remarkable performances throughout the game.

    Al-Hilal scripted a historic comeback in the marquee fixture of the fifth round of the Saudi Professional League, overturning a three-goal deficit to secure a scintillating 4-3 victory. The star of the night was substitute Michael, who played a pivotal role in turning the tide in favor of Al-Hilal during the second half. Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrović also made headlines with a remarkable hat-trick against Al-Ittihad.

    With this victory, Al-Hilal surged to the top of the Saudi Professional League table with 13 points, temporarily dethroning Al-Ittihad, who now stand second alongside Al-Ahli.

    The match, held at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, witnessed an impressive attendance of 23,743 passionate fans.

    The game had a turbulent start as the match had to be temporarily halted due to smoke emerging from the stands, obstructing visibility in the stadium. These interruptions persisted until the 10th minute, and the referee added around 12 minutes of stoppage time in the first half and 12 minutes in the second half.

    Early minutes of the game saw defensive errors from Al-Hilal, which Al-Ittihad nearly capitalized on multiple occasions. However, Rúben Neves’ brilliance prevented their attempts.

    Al-Ittihad took an early lead in the classic as Brazilian Romarinho netted the opener in the 16th minute, capitalizing on an exquisite assist from Abdul Razak Hamdallah.

    Al-Hilal didn’t wait long to equalize, with Serbian Mitrović showcasing his exquisite skills. He converted a precise cross from Saud Abdulhamid, marking the first goal conceded by Al-Ittihad this season.

    In the 27th minute, Abdul Razak Hamdallah missed a golden opportunity for Al-Ittihad after receiving a delightful pass from Coronado, but his shot narrowly missed the target.

    Yassine Bounou, Al-Hilal’s goalkeeper, saved his team from conceding a goal when he denied Romarinho’s one-on-one attempt just minutes later.

    Frenchman Karim Benzema, the captain of Al-Ittihad, restored his team’s lead with a fantastic goal. Ahmed Bammasoud delivered a cross that Benzema cleverly flicked into the net with his heel.

    Al-Ittihad continued to impress, launching continuous attacks on Al-Hilal’s goal. The latter seemed vulnerable defensively while struggling in the attacking department.

    Moroccan Abdul Razak Hamdallah refused to exit the first half without leaving his mark, contributing to Al-Ittihad’s third goal. Hamdallah received an errant pass from Sergej Milinković-Savić inside the penalty area and slotted it past his compatriot, Yassine Bounou, securing the third goal.

    In his first significant appearance of the match, Brazilian Malcolm came close to narrowing the gap but saw his shot hit the crossbar.

    At the start of the second half, Al-Hilal’s coach, Jesús, opted for an offensive strategy by substituting Mohammed Kanno for Brazilian Michael, and repositioning Milinković-Savić in a more defensive role. Malcolm was given a more prominent attacking role alongside Michael.

    Yassine Bounou once again came to his team’s rescue by denying Al-Ittihad’s fourth goal following a one-on-one opportunity for Frenchman Karim Benzema.

    Substitute Michael played a crucial role in turning the tide in the second half. He delivered a cross that Serbian Mitrović met, scoring his second goal of the match in the 61st minute.

    Shortly thereafter, Michael embarked on a Al-Hilal counter-attack and entered the penalty area, only to be fouled by Ahmed Bammasoud. The referee awarded a penalty to Al-Hilal, which Mitrović confidently converted, completing his hat-trick and leveling the score.

    Al-Hilal had several opportunities to extend their lead through set pieces, but the crossbar and Al-Ittihad’s goalkeeper, Marcelo Grohe, thwarted their attempts.

    Salem Al-Dosari, representing Al-Hilal, finally gave his team the lead for the first time in the match, capitalizing on a pass from Milinković-Savić and slotting the ball past Grohe in the 71st minute.

    The match continued to thrill spectators until the final whistle, with Al-Hilal ultimately securing a remarkable 4-3 victory over their fierce rivals Al-Ittihad. This win propelled Al-Hilal to the top of the league temporarily, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.

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