The game we have been waiting for all this pre-season, Al Hilal vs Al Ittihad delivered the fireworks we were expecting.
Both teams had their fair share of pre-season games where Al Hilal struggled to find their rhythm in most of them while Al Ittihad displayed an exciting attacking game. However, this game was the first real attacking challenge for Al Ittihad and shed light on the issues the team is facing.
The game started with a powerful header by Savic. Grohe got a touch to it but wasn’t enough to keep it out of his net. The goal was considered controversial due to Savic pushing Zakariya right before launching for the header. Without reviewing from the referee, the goal counted.
The dominance of Al Hilal continued throughout the first half with a few chances by Al Ittihad that threatened the Al Hilal goalkeeper Al Maiouf. Right before the end of the first half, Al Hilal were awarded a penalty after a foul by Grohe right in front of goal which was scored by Salem Al Dawsari sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
At the beginning of the second half, the Ittihad defense was still looking a bit shaky and unorganized except for a spectacular display from the full back Zakariya and the center back Sharahili. The center however, was missing their key player Hegazi who is out till December.
Ittihad however got a goal by Romarinio after a beautiful pass by Cornado lighting up the stadium with hopes of a comeback. After a push by Ittihad looking for the second goal, Romarinho gets fouled in the penalty box and awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, Benzema fails to score, leaving Al Hilal in the lead.
In the minute 70, Al Hilal’s new signing Malcom scores a header from an amazing cross by Yasser Al Shahrani making the score 3-1. The game ended with that score.
This game was a very interesting showcase of the future plans of the Saudi Pro League. We saw spectacular individual performances by players from both teams showing great promise for the Saudi youth academy. Players like Zakariya, Kanno, Salem, Saud, Yasser, Al Maiouf, Sharahili, showed great potential and composure in their game and I hope to see that grow even further as the season kicks off.
He was a magician on the field and every time he had the ball, you could expect a good pass.