Glory for Al-Hilal as win over Al-Faisaly secures third Saudi Professional League title in row
RIYADH: Al-Hilal have been topped champions of Saudi Arabia for a record-extending 18th time after defeating Al-Faisaly 2-1 in Riyadh on Monday evening to complete two factors on the high of the desk above rivals Al-Ittihad who have been held to a 0-0 draw by Al-Batin.
Two targets from the league’s main scorer Odion Ighalo gave coach Ramon Diaz’s group an eleventh win from the final 12 video games and high spot for the third successive season, a marketing campaign which is the longest ever after beginning in mid-August 2021. It’s a incredible achievement for the Asian champions as they have been 16 factors behind Al-Ittihad in February when coach Ramon Diaz took over.
Ighalo’s twenty second objective of the season after simply seven minutes took the early nerves out of the event on the King Fahd Worldwide Stadium. The previous Manchester United striker turned and fired dwelling from shut vary after a sensible pull-back from Brazil’s Michael. The second strike, which got here 4 minutes after the hour, was related. Michael beat two defenders on the best and squared the ball to Ighalo who swept dwelling.
The sport, and the title race, gave the impression to be throughout however with 20 minutes remaining, the guests silenced the celebrating dwelling crowd with substitute Clayson arriving late to ship a strong header previous Abdullah Al-Mayouf after an ideal Khalid Al-Kabi cross from the best facet. Out of the blue there was rigidity among the many dwelling followers as Al-Faisaly, needing a outcome to ensure high tier soccer subsequent season, pushed ahead searching for a doubtlessly decisive level.
The closest the boys from Dammam got here was deep into damage time when a shot from Tavares was cleared off the road, by a hand, claimed the guests. This has been a season with loads of last-minute drama and hearts have been in mouths as Greek referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos went to the pitchside monitor. He waved away the determined appeals and although the gamers didn’t realize it, Al-Faisaly’s high flight standing was already protected. After 10 minutes of added time, it was throughout. It was a frantic finish to a frantic season and the celebrations mirrored the champion’s reduction and the delight at considered one of their extra unlikely title triumphs.
Al-Hilal’s victory meant that, as they’d the higher head-to-head file in opposition to their challengers, that there was nothing Al-Ittihad might do down in Jeddah. The goalless draw with Al-Batin was, nevertheless, a disappointing finish to a marketing campaign that had promised a lot.
The Tigers dropped 13 factors within the last eight video games, a run that price them what would have been a primary title since 2009. Al-Ittihad huffed and puffed in opposition to Al-Batin, who now drop to the second tier however have been unable to interrupt the impasse within the first half.
It was a horrible evening all spherical for Jeddah as 2016 champions Al-Ahli have been relegated to the second tier for the primary time ever. A 0-0 draw in opposition to fourth place Al-Shabab condemned the 2012 Asian Champions League finalists to the drop.
That meant that Al-Ahli, Al-Batin and Al-Hazm are all relegated but it surely was a tense 90 minutes on the backside half of the desk with seven groups in with an opportunity of the drop going into the ultimate sport.
Al-Taawoun ensured their survival with a 1-1 draw at Damac, who end in fifth, whereas Al-Tai confirmed security with a 3-0 win over Al-Hazm, a 3rd victory in 4 video games. Al-Raed defeated Abha 1-0, a outcome that preserves the highest flight standing of each groups, whereas Ettifaq are additionally protected due to a 1-0 win at Al-Feiha.
Elsewhere, Al-Nassr ended their season in third after a 2-1 win over Al-Fateh but it surely was elsewhere in Riyadh the place the strains of “We Are The Champions” might be heard.