Al Hilal triumph in Clasico to win the Saudi Super Cup

Roshn Saudi League champions-elect Al Hilal picked up their first piece of silverware in the 2023-24 season, defeating Al Ittihad 4-1 in the final to win the Saudi Super Cup on Thursday night.

In front of 27,250 fans at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the two RSL powerhouses played out an entertaining encounter on a pleasant Eid evening.

Brazilian winger Malcom got his team up and running early on after an exquisite piece of play. The former Barcelona man intercepted the ball just after the halfway line, dribbles his way down the centre of the pitch, before exchanging passes with Salem Al Dawsari then keeping his composure to slot home past the Al Ittihad goalkeeper inside just five minutes.

Al Ittihad quickly regrouped and grew back into the match. After multiple attacking attempts, Marcelo Gallardo’s men were rewarded for their endeavors with a penalty after Abderrazak Hamdallah was brought down inside Al Hilal box by Renan Lodi. The striker stepped up and aimed for the bottom corner, but was denied by fellow Moroccan Yassine Bono. Hamdallah, however, was first to the rebound and applied the finish to restore parity in the 21st minute.

Before the first-half came to a close, there was one more twist in the tale. A well-worked passing move down the left flank of Al Hilal’s attack saw Saleh Al Shehri feed Al Dawsari. The skipper danced past two defenders before drilling into the near corner past his former teammate Abdullah Al Mayouf, making it 2-1.

Hamdallah thought he had equalised for his team again just after the hour-mark, but the flag had gone up as the Moroccan had strayed offside when the pass from Benzema was first launched.

Instead, it was Malcom who cemented the victory in the 89th minute, collecting a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic pass on the counter and leaving Ahmed Hegazi wrong-footed before slotting home his second of the night and his side’s third.

Deep into added time, substitute Nasser Al Dawsari rounded off the scoring, pouncing on the rebound to hammer home the fourth after fellow substitute Abdullah Al Hamdan saw his effort from close range blocked by Al Mayouf.

Victory in the four-team tournament held outside Saudi Arabia for the fourth time after London (2015, 2016 and 2018), takes Al Hilal’s tally in the Super Cup to four titles, twice as many as their nearest chasers, Al Nassr.

Held in a four-team format for the second time in a row, the 2024 Super Cup saw Al Ittihad beat Wehda 2-1 in the first semi-final, while Al Hilal had overcame Riyadh rivals Al Nassr with the same scoreline on Monday.