JEDDAH: Underdog Al-Taawoun completed their storybook title run in the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup by beating fancied Al-Ittihad 2-1 in the final on Thursday at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.
King Salman attended the final match in the tournament and presented the cup to Al-Taawoun which won their first-ever King’s Cup trophy in only their second trip to the final. They first reached the final in 1990.
In winning their first major championship Taawoun took down two of the biggest clubs in the country, Al-Hilal and Ittihad, and did not concede a goal on their way to the final. Their 5-0 win against Hilal in the semifinal was the first such heavy defeat suffered by the Riyadh-based club for 30 years, which had led to the resignation of its president Mohammed bin Faisal.
Ittihad entered the match looking to defend their title. Instead it was the gritty Taawoun side that lifted the champion trophy.
Leandre Tawamba delivered the clincher and the first King’s Cup trophy for Taawoun with a goal in the 89th minute. Taawoun team captain Talal Al-Absi headed the equalizer in the 54th minute from a perfect cross by second half substitue Gehad Al-Hussain.
Serbian striker Aleksandar Prijović scored Itthad’s goal in the 33rd minute on a wonderful assist by Chilean midfielder Carlos Villanueva.
But the 29-year-old Prijovic failed to double the score in the 45th minute as his shot went wide from close range. Taawoun had two close chances but Ittihad goalie Fawaz Al Qarni thwarted both attempts.
Ittihad made the final of the tournament 18 times.