Two-goal hero Aleksandar Mitrovic was full of praise for Al-Hilal fans after they generated an electric atmosphere in the 3-0 Riyadh derby victory over title rivals Al-Nassr.
Mitrovic snatched a late brace for Al-Hilal on Friday, adding to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s opener to put Luis Castro’s side to the sword at the King Fahd Stadium. The victory extends their lead at the top of the Saudi Pro League to seven points.
And Mitrovic, who played in the West London derby for Fulham, Tyne-Wear derby for Newcastle and Belgrade derby for Partizan, claimed that Friday’s clash between Riyadh rivals Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr was the pick of them.
“(It was) amazing, really amazing,” Mitrovic said after the match. “I played derbies in many countries, but for sure this is, if not the best, for sure top, top of the list.
“The pressure before the game, the build-up with fans before the game (was) really, really amazing, something special. To be honest, I don’t think I ever played a better derby.”
Mitrovic has quickly become a fan favorite at Al-Hilal, helped by his 20 goals in 20 games across all competitions for the Riyadh heavyweights. The double against Al-Nassr meant the supporters were serenading their Serbian striker again.
“I’m lucky that everywhere I play, I always have a great relationship, but with these fans it’s amazing,” Mitrovic said.
“Since I arrived, from the first moment, we had a really special connection. They make me happy. I hope I will continue making them happy. It’s a happy marriage.”
Both sides had opportunities in the game, but it was the league leaders who were eventually more ruthless in front of goal, despite spurning some earlier chances.
“It was a very open game,” Mitrovic added. “From the beginning of the first half, we were better, we dominated; we had probably three, four clean chances to score goals, but we didn’t. We knew that of course, they have quality, a lot of experience.
“We knew that if we wanted to win the game, we had to keep a clean sheet. I think we scored the first goal on time, and we defended really, really well as a team.
“(With the) second goal, we killed the game, the third goal as well. I could even have scored a hat trick today with a little bit of luck. But overall, it was a great performance, a great game from us and a very big win for us and our fans.”