Saudi Pro League: Aleksandar Mitrovic inspires Al Hilal to victory over Al Taawoun

League leaders claim important result in Riyadh

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 10th goal of the season against Al Taawoun. Getty Images
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Al Hilal strengthened their grip on top spot in the Saudi Pro League after two late goals saw them swat away upstarts Al Taawoun 2-0 in Riyadh on Friday night.

Taawoun were fancied to push Hilal all the way after a strong start to the season had visitors up in third place going into the weekend’s fixtures.

And for the most part, that’s how it played out. However, in Aleksandar Mitrovic, Hilal have a striker at the very peak of his powers and his crucial breakthrough, on 81 minutes, set them on course for a big victory in the unfolding Saudi title race.

With the game looking like ending in stalemate, Malcom swung in a dangerous free-kick from the left and Mitrovic stooped to head home his 10th league goal for the club - his 17th in all competitions - and make it 1-0.

The clincher came deep into injury-time as Hilal’s Saudi Arabia international midfielder Mohammed Kanno curled in an unstoppable free-kick.

The hosts had certainly not had it all their own way and were indebted to goalkeeper Yassine Bounou as his superb reflex save had earlier prevented an own goal by centre-back Hassan Tambakti.

The victory saw Hilal open up a seven-point lead on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, who are second and take on Al Wehda on Saturday.

Meanwhile, reports suggest Hilal are likely to de-register injured striker Neymar to free up space for another big signing in January.

The SPL allows clubs to register eight foreign players, and with Neymar out for the season with a knee ligament injury sustained on Brazil duty, it would make sense to omit him from the squad.

Manager Jorge Jesus is reportedly eager to add a top quality left-back to his side.

Updated: November 11, 2023, 7:59 AM