Drinking culture in English cricket ‘excluding’ British Muslims from attending, playing

Al-Hilal defeat Al-Nassr and lift the Copa del Rey after penalty shootout leaves Ronaldo in tears

Cristiano Ronaldo’s season ended in tears on Friday as Al-Hilal completed a league and cup double by beating Al-Nassr 5-4 on penalties after two hours of play in a stormy cup final of the King at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. it ended 1-1.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was the hero, saving two spot kicks at the end of a fierce battle between rivals Riyadh who had a bit of everything. There was an early goal from Aleksandar Mitrovic that looked to put the league champions on course for their 11th triumph in Saudi Arabia’s premier cup competition. Then there was a late equalizer from Ayman Yahya that took the match into extra time, but not before three players were sent off by Argentine referee Dario Herrera.

Al-Nassr goalkeeper David Ospina was the first to go, at the start of the second half. At that point, it seemed certain that Al-Hilal’s name was destined to be on the cup but then, late in the match, both centre-backs, Ali Al-Bulaihi and then Kalidou Koulibaly, were sent off.

Ronaldo and his teammates, who had finished the championship in second place behind Al-Hilal earlier in the week, looked dangerous from the start.

Sadio Mané had the best chance in the opening exchanges, shooting just over from close range in the sixth minute. Seconds later, however, Mitrovic illustrated the difference between teams this season, making the Yellows pay for missed opportunities with the kind of ruthless efficiency that has been a trademark of this Al-Hilal team; if you don’t take your opportunities against them, you will be punished. The Serbian striker was waiting at the far post to head low into the net after Malcom had served a good cross from the right.

Just three minutes later, Al-Nassr had a great chance to equalize but Otavio shot just wide from inside the area. Just after the half-hour mark, Yahya had a shot blocked off the line by Al-Bulaihi, and then Ronaldo’s low shot was blocked by Bounou’s legs.

The Moroccan goalkeeper returned to action immediately afterwards, blocking another shot from the 39-year-old Portuguese champion and then saving Otavio’s subsequent header on the rebound. This sums up a frustrating first half for Al-Nassr in which they did most of the running,

At the start of the second half, Ronaldo almost scored what could have been the goal of the season, but his spectacular, almost perfect overhead kick, which left Bounou no chance, bounced off the post.

Things started to go wrong for Al-Nassr eight minutes after the restart when Malcom burst through on goal. Ospina leaves his area and touches the ball with his hand, causing him to issue a red card.

Al-Nassr, however, continued to give their all in an attempt to get back into the game, and Ronaldo forced Bounou into another fine save with a well-taken free-kick. But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner looked an increasingly frustrated figure.

However, Al-Hilal failed to put the game to rest and there was some nervousness on display when Mitrovic’s shot came just past the post when he only had substitute goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah to beat.

Then, with three minutes remaining in the regular 90 minutes, Al-Nassr were given a lifeline when Al-Bulaihi was sent off for apparently headbutting Sami Al-Najei.

Yahya immediately took advantage as he headed home from close range, sparking wild celebrations among the hordes of yellow-shirted fans and taking the game to extra time, but not before Al-Hilal were down to nine men as Koulibaly received a second yellow.

In the first half of extra time there was plenty of space on the pitch, given the small number of players, and both teams pushed forward in search of the winner. However, the longer they went without one of them managing to reach that all-important goal, the more inevitable it seemed that the outcome would be decided by penalties. And so it was.

Ruben Neves missed the first shot of the shootout, but so did Alex Telles. Bounou then saved from Ali Al-Hassan and Meshari Al-Nemer to secure another trophy for Al-Hilal and leave Ronaldo lying on the pitch in despair.

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL