• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024


Allways With You

Jorge Jesus praises Al Hilal’s resilience after dramatic last-minute draw in Riyadh Derby


May 18, 2024


Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Al Hilal’s unbeaten streak in the domestic season was kept alive by a dramatic last-minute penalty by Aleksandar Mitrovic, securing a 1-1 draw in Friday’s Riyadh Derby against Al Nassr.

This intense match at Al Awwal Park saw early excitement when Al Nassr’s Otavio scored from distance within the first minute. However, Mitrovic’s late penalty ensured Al Hilal remains on track for an invincible 2023/24 Roshn Saudi League campaign.

The game was marked by opportunities for both teams, with Al Nassr dominating the first half and Al Hilal coming back stronger in the second.

Despite the draw ending Al Hilal’s winning streak of 24 league games since September, manager Jorge Jesus expressed immense pride in his team’s performance and resilience.

“I’m very proud of my players. They showed great resilience to keep the unbeaten record,” Jesus remarked. He is optimistic about the remaining season, which includes two more league matches and the King’s Cup final. “We not only want to be unbeaten in the next two league games but also win the King’s Cup. I don’t think you can have a better season than this in local competitions,” he added.

The controversy of the night involved a penalty awarded to Al Hilal in the closing moments of the game. After a VAR review, Spanish referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez ruled that Sadio Mane had fouled Saud Abdulhamid just inside the box. While Jesus supported the decision, Al Nassr’s manager Luis Castro disputed it, claiming, “The penalty given to them and scored by them; it wasn’t at all a penalty. There is no injury, there is no foul at all.”

The rivalry tension is set to continue as both teams will meet again in the King’s Cup final, which rounds off the season. Castro downplayed the impact of this league match on the upcoming final, noting the high stakes and the intensity of their encounters. “No, this was one match and that is a different match. We all saw how Al Hilal celebrated as if they won, but they only drew. That means it was a tough match for them. We had chances to win,” said Castro.

With Al Hilal maintaining a twelve-point lead over second-placed Al Nassr, and having set a world record earlier in the season with 34 consecutive wins across all competitions, the stakes remain high as the season approaches its climax.


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