Al Hilal march on unbeaten after thrilling Riyadh derby draw

A late Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty helped Al Hilal earn a point against arch rivals Al Nassr in a fiercely contested Riyadh derby on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo set-up his international teammate Otavio to hammer home from long range after just 23 seconds, registering the fastest goal in the 2023-24 Roshn Saudi League season and the fastest in the Riyadh derby history to get the game off to a flying start. Al Hilal players had yet to touch the ball when it nestled into the back of Yassine Bono's net after a well-worked passing move straight from kick-off.

Ronaldo's pass for the opener marks another record for the Portuguese legend who has now contributed to 44 goals in the current RSL season, his 11th assist adding to 33 goals to break the goal involvements record of 43, previously held by current Al Ittihad forward Abderrazaq Hamdallah while at Al Nassr in 2018-19.

A series of fine saves from Bono and some wasteful finishing by Ronaldo and company meant the damage to the RSL champions was limited to one goal as Al Nassr dominated the first half.

Head Coach Jorge Jesus introduced Nasser Al Dawsari and Salman Al Faraj in the second half as his side chased the equaliser, but clear cut chances were few and far between.

It was only deep in added time that Al Hilal had the chance to draw level after the referee awarded a penalty following a challenge from Sadio Mane on right-back Saud Abdulhamid inside the penalty area. A lengthy VAR check confirmed the decision and the Serbian made no mistakes from the spot, powering home his 27th goal of the season.

Al Hilal go into the last two games of the campaign with their unbeaten record still intact, and despite losing their run of 24 consecutive wins in the league, their 34-match unbeaten streak places them joint-second in the league's history of unbeaten runs, equalling the tally of Al Shabab from 2011-12, while the all-time record remains Al Ahli's with 51 games without a defeat between January 2014 and February 2016.

The result takes Al Hilal's tally to 90 points, while Al Nassr reach 78 points in second place. 

Al Hilal welcome Al Tai to Kingdom Arena on Thursday, in a game that will see them receive the trophy, while Al Nassr are away to neighbours Al Riyadh in their penultimate match of the season as Ronaldo continues to chase the league's single-season top scorer record.