Al Hilal win 2023-24 King's Cup in dramatic finale

Al Hilal wrapped up an impressive 2023-24 season with yet another trophy, defeating city rivals Al Nassr on penalties in the final of the King’s Cup on Friday.

The 2023-24 Roshn Saudi League champions and runners-up locked horns at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, with 56,780 fans in attendance. And it was once more Al Hilal who emerged on top, receiving the coveted trophy from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Having already completed an unbeaten RSL season, finishing with new records of 96 points, 101 goals scored and 31 wins from 34 matches, Jorge Jesus’ men added the King’s Cup to a trophy cabinet that has swollen in the past two months with the league and the Super Cup titles.

A heated affair in Jeddah on Friday that saw three players dismissed got off to a flying start when, on seven minutes, Brazilian winger Malcom delivered a pinpoint cross from the right for Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian's far-post header too powerful for Al Nassr goalkeeper David Ospina.

Seconds after the restart, Cristiano Ronaldo could have scored arguably the greatest goal of his Saudi Arabia career yet. The Al Nassr captain sailed to meet Otavio’s cross from the right in acrobatic fashion, leaving goalkeeper Yassine Bono rooted to the spot. However, Ronaldo's strike cannoned off the upright.

The first red card of the game was shown eight minutes into the second half to Ospina, who had not option but to handle the ball outside his penalty area with Malcom through on goal following a quick Al Hilal counter-attack. The denial of a clear scoring opportunity meant a direct red for the Colombian.

Then, three minutes before the end of normal time, Al Hilal defender Ali Al Bulayhi collected two yellow cards in quick succession following an altercation with Sami Al Naji. In an instant Al Nassr took advantage; immediately from a subsequent throw-in, Sultan Al Ghannam sent the ball long into the Al Hilal area and Ayman Yahya powered home a header to draw level his side.

There was still time for Kalidou Koulibaly, already booked for an earlier challenge on Ronaldo, to be shown a second yellow in added time. The Senegal defender crashed into Al Nassr’s substitute goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah, leaving Jesus’ side to go into the 30 minutes of extra-time with nine men.

After a flurry of missed chances from both sides, the game was ultimately decided by penalties. Ruben Neves hit the upright for Al Hilal, but his former FC Porto teammate Alex Telles could not capitalise, sending his spot-kick into the stands.

Top scorers Mitrovic and Ronaldo slotted home and so did Saudi internationals Mohammed Kanno, Al Naji, Hassan Tambakti, Abdulrahman Ghareeb, Abdullah Al Hamdan and Ali Lajami.

Saud Abdulhamid missed Al Hilal’s fifth penalty, handing Al Nassr the opportunity to win it, but Bono produced a fine diving save to deny Ali Al Hassan, who had come in to replace Otavio. Eventually, it was 20-year-old Meshari Al Nemer who missed the decisive kick for Al Nassr, with a combination of Bono and the post denying the youngster and earning Al Hilal the title.