Hilal haul: 54 and counting



BANDER ALHAMAD

Published — Wednesday 27 February 2013

Last update 27 February 2013 4:19 am

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Last Friday, we had one of the best matches this season when Hilal of Riyadh won for the sixth time in a row and remained as the Crown Prince’s Cup champion. They beat their city rival Nassr. The game was tough for both teams, ending via penalty shots. Hilal proved a lot of people wrong, that even when their standing seemed to be at its worst somehow they managed to win. The victory though involved a lot of luck, especially considering the opponent was Nassr, the team that entered the match probably feeling it was just a matter of time before they be crowned champions.
Hilal's 54th championship was a cause of celebration for the fans, forgetting for a while how bad and careless the team management has become. I enjoyed watching the match. It was breathtaking for both supporters. Hilal's goal came in the 117th minute, three minutes before stoppage time. Hilal's very weird play after their goal paved the way for Nassr to score the equalizer quite easily. Nassr scored two minutes later and Hilal's defense line was actually still weak for the match to last 119 minutes. Another minute longer and they would not have been able to keep up.
Right after the match ended, I honestly thought that Nassr should have won because its usually like that, weaker teams almost always come out as dark horses and reach the penalty shots. Hilal could've ended the match much earlier, but both coaches made some bad calls. It was good that the players made up for it.
Hilal must not linger a minute too long celebrating their victory and be ready to meet Al-Ain from UAE in the AFC Champions League. I hope they realize that Al-Ain is much stronger than Nassr and has more talented players, not to mention a very good coach, Romanian Cosmin Olariou, who was Hilal's very own coach back in 2007-2008 seasons. Needless to say, the UAE club will be a very tough opponent. Hopefully, they pull through this evening along with Ahli, who will meet Algharafa from Qatar. Best wishes also go to Shabab and Ittifaq who had their matches yesterday.

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